Today I read that verse and I think I felt more of its significance than on other casual reads. To explain, I have to digress a little, so stay with me on this.
I read this famous passage shortly after I discussed the mole problem I have at my house with my mom. To give some context, we have moles. Lots of moles. More moles than perhaps all the rest of the eastern United States combined. Our toddler became comfortable saying, “Hole,” before he did saying, “Dad.” But I can’t bring myself to harm the moles. I hate the idea of killing another creature, particularly one that originally seemed so harmless. It’s only recently that I’ve started empathize with Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack and wished the little creatures would just disappear. After all, we have a toddler and few things catch the breath in my chest like seeing him running in our yard happily only to be tripped up by infernal mole holes.
So, knowing my reluctance to kill the moles, my mom was telling me the moles are a sign there are lots of grubs in the ground and if we killed the grubs the moles would go away. No harm to the moles. No more holes. No more worries about my son getting hurt. I felt bad about killing the grubs, but had almost convinced myself it was better to kill grubs than have my son get hurt, when I felt like the Lord touched my heart and forced to me think about that for a second in a greater context. A deeper one.
When God sent Christ into the world, He was sending His precious and dear Son. More valuable in terms of honor, splendor, power, eternality, magnificence, and reciprocal love for God the Father than any other being. Certainly far more precious than a race of creatures who spit on and mock the name of God at every chance. Who places animals atop polls and bow to them or worse place themselves atop a dais and claim to be the ultimate product of the universe.
Think about why we tend to not value grubs. They live in filth for one, which makes them seem like pals with disease and decay. They’re so small and have such short lives. There are so many and their minds aren’t even capable of thoughts worth considering. I would imagine, to the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal Creator Who need not mince a single extra word when forming billions of galaxies; that is what we could look like. If the universe indicates how big God could loom over us, we’re more like subatomic particles than grubs really. As I said, we love the things that defile us, wretched and perverse things and it would be a lie to say any of us have never indulged in dark desires even if only in our minds. Our lifespans aren’t even worth comparing against the backdrop of recorded human history, let alone eternity past and to come.
So what drew me up short as I read Isaiah 53:3-4 was this notion that God didn’t look at us grubs with disdain and think the world would be better rid of us. He looked at His beloved Son and asked Him to suffer horrible things, things no other being could begin to shoulder, and said that sacrifice would be for creatures who can’t even comprehend what God would be doing for them. In fact, God knew in advance that we would look at Christ’s sacrifice and think, terribly, He must have gotten what He deserved. But He didn’t. He took what we, who eschew everything noble so often and decided to redeem us. To take the hurt needed to let us live with God. To put it even more sharply into perspective, I may not kill those grubs in my yard, but I’m not going to go have chats with them. But God does. He chose to not only put away the offensiveness that would force Him to remove us from His creation, but offers a chance to look up from the soil we scurry in and see and interact with a God Who is so much more than we will ever fathom. That is what Isaiah 53 imparts. That is what the Bible is all about. God drawing the eyes of ungrateful specks of His creative prowess to see what they should never have chosen to their backs on in the first place. And I think this grub is slowly growing to appreciate the beauty of that idea a little more fully now.