Week 4, Day 1

Day 1: Isaiah 11:1-10

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
His delight will be in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge
by what he sees with his eyes,
he will not execute justice
by what he hears with his ears,
but he will judge the poor righteously
and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
He will strike the land
with a scepter from his mouth,
and he will kill the wicked
with a command from his lips.
Righteousness will be a belt around his hips;
faithfulness will be a belt around his waist.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together,
and a child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze,
their young ones will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like cattle.
An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit,
and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.
They will not harm or destroy each other
on my entire holy mountain,
for the land will be as full
of the knowledge of the Lord
as the sea is filled with water.

On that day the root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples.
The nations will look to him for guidance,
and his resting place will be glorious.

1. Once again we are reading a prophecy from Isaiah about the coming of a righteous King in the line of David who will do everything that he is supposed to do. The standard is breathtakingly high. He will have a Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His wise judgements will not come from what he sees with his eyes, or what he hears with his ears. He will judge the poor righteously, andbring justice for the oppressed of the land. He will kill the wicked. This King will be good for everyone. But he won’t stop there. He will also restore the natural world. The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the goat, the calf and the lion will all be at peace, and a little child will lead them. The natural order of predator and prey will be broken by this King. A world that has been marked by self-destruction since the days of Adam become a world of worship. They will not harm or destroy each other on my entire holy mountain. And he’s still not done. This King will bring the knowledge of the Lord to the whole earth. He will unite all those who look at him as a banner of the peoples. All the nations will look to him for guidance. Isaiah has been given a vision of a King that does nothing less than end the curse of sin on earth, restoring humans, nature, and the relationships between them. It is a vision of a world made new.
2. Jesus is the shoot from the stump and the branch from the root. He is the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests. He is the King that makes all things new.
3. As believers in Jesus in this presently fallen world, this is our every and only hope. Isaiah was calling the ancient people of God to live their lives in obedience to God in hope of this very future- while simultaneously warning and mourning their inability to bring it about. One of the great temptations of the Christian life is to become outcome oriented. To think that we by our efforts bring about the healing of the world. The stark truth- easily visible to a student of history- is that we always fail to do so. Our hope is not in what we can accomplish, but in the Kingdom to which we belong. The King of Isaiah 11 accomplishes these things through the word of his mouth. He speaks the new creation into existence. Our call is to obey him. To be his subjects. He will create his Kingdom. We are called to live in it. Is this Kingdom here today? Yes, but as outposts. We call them churches. The church is called to reflect this new world, though we know it will be imperfect. Restored humanity in spiritual regenerated members. Restored relationship with nature in our care for the world around us. Restored justice through care for the poor and oppressed in front of us. We cannot restore the world, but we can live in a colony of the world to come.
4. The King has not yet spoken the last word. He has appeared and his Kingdom is present, and the day will come when the outposts are no longer necessary, because the world will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. The final restoration will be the presence of the King, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.