“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
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.” (Isaiah 11:1 – 2)
We all know what this figurative image means – from the family of Jesse will come greatness. Jesse’s family already had King David, but someone else equal to or greater than David will come. But it is interesting that the psalmist says “from the stump of Jesse” and not a great branch in/of the family of Jesse. That is because, beloved reader, the greatest of Jesse’s family had come to an end. It is like saying that something unexpected can still come a source that others have discounted and dismissed. Now, did the psalmist mean the Messiah? Or a personage who would restore the hopes of Israel and Judah?
“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.” (Verses 3 – 5)
We understand that Jesus did (and more) fulfill this promise and hope. Last week ended our reflections taking about joy and hope, and the promise that hope gives to us.
“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.” (Verses 6 – 9)
Hope turns things upside down. Or more precisely, reverses what we had feared and gives new life to what was thought to be gone. The prophets, both major and minor, gave out warning and hope equally, along with predictions of scolding, discipline, and correction of faith gone wrong. Israel and Judah had to wait a long time however for that hope to come. Long enough that the family/clan of Jesse dwindled down to vague remembrances of better times.
“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.” (Verse 10)
Hope also brings peace; and peace is the theme of the second week of Advent. Hope was the theme of the first week – I am sorry I did not highlight that last week.
When we have both hope and peace, it is easier to wait for the fulfillment of prophecy. So this week, beloved reader I wish you both! Selah!