In the first reading Isaiah said, “But a very little while, and Lebanon will be changed into an orchard.” He went on to say that the deaf would hear, and the “lowly will ever find joy in the Lord.”
He spoke those words over twenty-seven hundred years ago, and I might be wrong in finding their meanings. I am not a learned scholar. I just do my best at following the directives for understanding the Scriptures that the Church gave us at the Second Vatican Council.
So, for better or worse, here is how I understand Isaiah’s promise of good days being ahead for Lebanon. In 722 B.C. the Assyrian Empire, from what is now the northern part of Iraq, brought cruel destruction to Lebanon and the northern part of Israel. Their forces dragged into exile and oblivion the people of Israel’s ten northern tribes.
Isaiah here was speaking perhaps ten years after the Assyrian conquest, and the bright picture he foresaw was far from being a detailed prophecy that would be fulfilled word for word.
Isaiah was a man who had completely given himself to God, and in exchange, he had received assurance that in the end God’s love would conquer all. In his prophecies Isaiah, a highly lyrical poet, found joyful imagery that would give shape to the certainty he felt that God would take care of his people.