As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the prophetic sections of the Old Testament are filled with the destruction of the wicked and the judgment of God poured out upon His own rebellious people. Isaiah 10-11 provide a striking picture of that judgment and a glorious picture of God’s grace. At the end of Isaiah 10 we read:
33 Behold, the Lord God of hosts
will lop the boughs with terrifying power;
the great in height will be hewn down,
and the lofty will be brought low.
34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe,
and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.
In other words, God is going to chop down the people of Judah like a tree and use them for firewood. All that will be left of them is a stump. They will be nearly destroyed altogether for their constant faithlessness. But God will not destroy them completely. He will leave the stump of their tree firmly planted in the ground. And as we move from chapter 10 to chapter 11, we come face to face with a glorious picture of God’s redemptive plan, that grows from that stump in the midst of the forest:
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 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.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
The stump of Jesse is the remains of David’s kingly line. Jesse was David’s father and therefore, all the kings of Judah came from Jesse. That’s easy enough. But here’s the good part, out of the stump that was left when God cut down Judah like a Cedar of Lebanon, a new shoot will grow. Someone from David’s line will grow up to judge the world with righteousness and faithfulness, destroying the wicked forever and lifting up the poor and meek.
He will not only restore Judah, but Isaiah 11 goes on to say that He will bring back God’s people from all nations. And He will bring such peace that even the lion and the lamb will dwell together, and the cow and bear will graze side by side.
And what happens next? Isaiah 12, just 6 beautifully joy-filled verses, says this:
1 You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
With joy all peoples will drink water from the wells of salvation. The water from those wells is flowing from the Lord Jesus Christ. He will bring such peace between God and man that the whole earth is healed of the disease of sin. And what’s more, He will reconcile us to God by grace through faith so that we might drink from those wells for all eternity. He is the glorious uniter of souls to God and all peoples from all nations will receive the benefits of the triumph of the shoot from the stump of Jesse!