I love to garden, but often get frustrated when the small seedlings I have planted in the ground, do not take root. What usually happens is maybe one or two plants will survive my clumsy gardening, while the rest wither and die. I usually leave the dying stumps in the ground, figuring they will help fertilize the new plants trying to grow. In the beginning of Isaiah 11, we are offered a picture of the future that reminds us of how new growth springs from a solid root.
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”
This vision of the future offers us hope, with the upcoming birth of baby Jesus. And further goes on to describe just exactly how the Messiah will lead His people. Why does the Holy Spirit, who gave Isaiah these visions of the future, want you and me to see this? Because we need to understand what kind of king we find in the manger of Bethlehem.
“The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.’”
We recently had a presidential election in the United States. And though we know that only one person can win, that didn’t prevent some people from being upset when their favorite candidate didn’t win. Everyone can describe in detail why their candidate is the best person to lead this country. But I imagine, if they were honest with themselves, they could also tell you the faults of this or that person. This is because no one person is perfect. But the prophet Isaiah described the most perfect leader, not just of a country, but of all time. Not only does this offer us hope for the coming Messiah, but also serves as inspiration for those who have lost heart in their daily struggles. What once seemed dying, lost, gone ….. now offers hope. All is not lost! This new vision of the future, as detailed in Isaiah 11:6-10, offers us a glimpse of God’s promises for the future.
“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.”
Paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? I can here you mumbling though: “But, how will all this be possible?” We already know that God can work miracles. After all, who created all you see, touch, smell, hear? It certainly didn’t materialize out of thin air. So is it so hard to imagine a future where there will be no strife, no discord among animals and man? Oh, I know looking at the world today, that might be hard to understand and even harder to imagine. But Matthew 19:26 clearly states, “Jesus looked at them and said “With men this impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” So next time you find yourself losing heart, ready to give up, remember the One who created you, who decided you were worth something. All of us are special, worth saving, and it will take a little baby, a small child, to show us the way.