It’s one of those days, I have been fighting a cold that seems to get better for a couple of hours only to return with greater vengeance. The good news is that this is a slow time in the church so I can just relax and get better. (the dripping sound you are hearing is sarcasm dripping from the page) On days like this, I feel like I have had my feet knocked out from underneath me. I feel a bit like a stump from a once powerful and productive tree.
The prophet Isaiah warns the people about the saw that is poised at the base of their nation. (See Isaiah Chapter 10) They are going to be cut off, cut down, removed, nothing to mark their existence but a stump. If that were the end of the story, it would be sad but not undeserved. God does not leave them without hope. In the opening verses of Chapter 11 of Isaiah leave us with amazing words of hope.
Isaiah 11:1-10 (ESV)
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.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
This shoot that will rise up, will be deeply rooted in the story of God, back to the father of David, Jesse. and this branch is not some flimsy branch that the wind is going to snap off, this branch with bear fruit. This branch will restore order. This branch will draw back all those who have been cut off, who feel far away. Note the strange things that will happen in creation when this shoot takes root. It sounds to me a lot like THE Garden, where the animals were not predator and prey but in harmony, there were no dangers for the children.
May you in this Holy Season of Advent know this hope, may I know this hope, that reminds us all that the best is yet to come. Amen, Come Lord Jesus, Amen.