Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top / When the wind blows, the cradle will rock / When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall / And down will come baby, cradle and all! Aren’t lullabies supposed to be soothing? The tune is, but what about that baby tumbling to the ground? Was it injured? Killed? Maybe it’s because we heard this lullaby so much as infants that we sometimes get that falling sensation when nodding off! May your bough never break!

Somewhere over the Rainbow – way up high / There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby / Somewhere over the Rainbow, skies are blue / And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. (Harburg). Set to a delightful tune these words soothe and inspire! Our heart yearns within us for that perfect land. Paradise Lost!

My eldest brother wrote a book about his son who had contracted a virus to the brain and had become completely paralysed in 1990 when only seven. In Rainbow in the Night my brother uses the Wizard of Oz story as an analogy of his son on the road to recovery. Says my brother under the heading: ‘My Counsel To Ciaran’: ‘At first, in Edinburgh, you were like the Tin Man who could not move until oil was put on him. Then you were like the Scarecrow who was so shoogly on his feet when he was taken down off the pole. Now you must be like the Lion – brave despite every difficulty. Above you is the Rainbow. A bridge of light between what was and what is to be. A promise that God is with you. That life is colourful, meaningful, good.’

Yes, even in lullabies sometimes the bough breaks and our lives come crashing down around us! We live in a real world, not make-believe. Our pain is real, not imagined. Even so, through our pain and anguish we see a rainbow. Hope! Surely there is a land, a promised-land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land full of good oil, moral uprightness, and true courage; a land where dreams are true!

Covered with blistering boils and sitting in the company of his counsellors Misery, Mayhem and Mortality, Job said, ‘Miserable comforters are you all!’ Job 16:2b. But afterwards he comforted himself, saying to them, “I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!’ Job 19:25-27.

Scripture speaks of the land our heart yearns for. However, it is not a land of make belief. It is not pie in the sky, but real, solid, a place in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). ‘A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek shall inherit the land and enjoy great peace’ Psalm 37:10-11. The ‘land’ in this verse may be translated as ‘earth.’ The Redeemer says, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ Matthew 5:5. The ‘land’ is this earth renewed. ‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ Revelation 21:1&4.

The ‘land’ is what Adam and his posterity would have inherited had he, as our representative, perfectly kept the covenant, the same covenant that our new representative, ie, Jesus Christ the Second Adam, perfectly kept. The ‘land’ is that which was promised to our father Abraham through imputed righteousness received through faith: ‘For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith’ Romans 4:13. Thus, though we live in a world in which the bough is broken and both cradle and baby are fallen, like Abraham who ‘waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Heb. 11:10), we too through faith in the Redeemer shall dwell on the renewed earth. Just as there were in Eden and on the ark, so there will be people and animals on the renewed earth! Paradise Found!

God preserved eight people including Noah and many animals in the ark when He destroyed the wicked in a great flood. Afterwards God said, ‘The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is in the world’ Genesis 9:16. Thus the rainbow represents Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, our everlasting covenant, Immanuel, who identifies with us through His suffering (Heb. 2:10). How sweet the name of Jesus sounds / In a believer’s ear! / It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds / And drives away his fear (Newton). ‘There’s a land that I heard of…’