A Shoot from Jesse
Read Isaiah 11:1-11
When the Israelites were invaded by the Assyrians in 722BC and taken into exile by the Babylonians in 597/586BC, they must have thought that it was the end of their kingdom and the Davidic dynasty. They were taken away from their land, the temple has been razed to the ground, and the people’s faith were in tatters. How could it not be when their God was supposed to be the one who protected them against their enemies? But they brought these judgements upon themselves by sinning against God (cf. 2 Kings 17:7-10). In fact, God had to send his prophets to tell his people that he was not the one who failed, but their invasion and conquest were the result of their sins.
However, God being the ever-loving and ever-gracious God he is, promises to rescue his people again. Although the Davidic dynasty has been “cut down” all the way to the stump (meaning, barely any tree left), from that stump/roots, a shoot/branch will bear fruit. We know that this is referring to the Davidic dynasty because Jesse is the father of David. It is from that line that a king will raise up again. The dynasty is not completely cut off. This will be a mighty king indeed because the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him. He will be endowed with the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord (v2). His reign will be characterised as righteous and faithful (v3b-5).
His reign will bring about perfect peace – shalom in Hebrew (v6-9). Shalom describes more than merely physical peace. It refers to welfare in all aspects of life – material, emotional, physical, and most importantly relational. Verses 6-9 gives us a picture and vibe of how that life will be like – hunter and prey living harmoniously together, just like in the Garden of Eden. In fact, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (v9). On that day that this king comes, he’s a “banner for the peoples”, with nations rallying to him (v10). On that day, God will reach out his hand and bring his remnant people back to him again (v11).
With the coming of king Jesus, that is what we see happening. He rules and reigns with perfect righteousness in his kingdom (Rom 14:17) In him there was no sin at all (2 Cor 5:21). He gives peace (shalom) to his disciples (John 20:21), and because of the mission work of his disciples, we can say that the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord. While we do not have perfect peace and perfect knowledge here on earth yet (that will be accomplished in heaven), we have the immense blessing of getting a taste of how heaven is going to be like now.
Jesus Christ has indeed become the “banner for the peoples” and nations are rallying to Jesus. Jesus calls his disciples to make disciples of all nations, and that is what we read in Acts – the Gospel news going out from the Jews, to the Samaritans and then finally to the Gentiles. The Old Testament saints never had the opportunity like we do to experience this blessing of God through Christ. And to think that all this started with a vulnerable young baby boy, born in a manger to a teenage girl named Mary. What an amazing God we worship!
- Thank God that we can have a taste of what heaven is going to be like and a taste of perfect “shalom”
- Pray that we will learn to see Jesus’ rule and reign over our lives as righteous, instead of following him begrudgingly