Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (8)

I'm not a great gardener, and yet I've observed some things from our inherited back garden. It seems there used to be a number of evergreen bushes along the side wall, but some of these were cut down before we came. Just the stump remains, and yet there's still life in the old bush yet. While the main stump is as it was when it was cut, there are smaller mini bushes growing up around it now, bearing fruit from those same roots.

The prophet Isaiah looks forward and sees a similar thing happening to Israel. Jesse, the father of David, represents his royal line, and yet in Isaiah 11, his line has become a stump. Cut off in its prime - when the royal line of David ceased to be kings at the exile. Away in the future, though, a new king of David's line will rise:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)

This new king, however, will be new and different compared to the old kings of Jesse's tree:

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2-3)

The Spirit-saturated king will judge justly and kill the wicked, to usher in a time of peace, so that wolves and lambs will live together, leopards and goats lie down together, and calves and lions sharing a space.

Once again, Isaiah's prophecy looks forward to this great king, the descendant of Jesse and son of David, and even now, our hearts yearn for this promised peace under the reign of the true king. Come, o branch of Jesse!

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