“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).
Isaiah, from what I recall, has been called the evangelist of the OT – the good news bearer. He, more than any other prophet, is in the good news business. The passage, today, is an example of that.
The prophets of ancient Israel looked forward to a day when God’s promise of a deliverer would be fulfilled in an ultimate descendant of David — the Messiah – who would rule over the nation.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
The encouragement (for us) today is, “Don’t stumble upon the stumps; keep your eyes on the holy stump”.
What stumps? Well…the real physical stumps.
We don’t see many stumps around us. We don’t know what a real, lengthy war is…its effects on people and the environment. We only see this kind of scenery in the pictures…or movies.
Isaiah saw it coming…God told him it is going to come.
During the reign of three kings (Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah), he called for repentance and preached the good news. But, on the prophetic horizon, he saw the coming disaster: ”…therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River – the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks…” (Isaiah 8:7).
With all the destruction and desolation, there was good news: God had some good news: the shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” – aka Jesus. Him we celebrate at Christmas!