1A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2The 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. 3His 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; 4but 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. 5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
Like a tender shoot sprouting from a rotted stump, or a small blade of green pushing up from roots deep within the ground, that is how Isaiah paints the coming of Messiah. From the most unpromising and lowliest of beginnings Messiah would enter history’s stage, and from Jesse’s lowly stock he would make his appearance and amaze the world.
Bible history remembers Jesse as the humble and otherwise forgotten father of Israel’s greatest king, David. Just as the greatest of Israel’s kings came from such lowly stock as Jesse, so Isaiah alerts us to look for Messiah to come from the humblest and lowliest of beginnings.
When Old Testament prophets speak of Messiah as “the son of David,” they are emphasizing his majesty and glory. But when they speak of Messiah as the son of Jesse they are underscoring his lowliness and humility. Today’s scripture text is about a time when a tiny shoot would burst forth from the lowly stock of Jesse. In this Isaiah was picturing a disastrous time when Israel would be like a great forest of trees mowed down to their stumps. Foreign armies would crush them and the royal house of David would lie in ruins. Although Mary and Joseph would both come from David’s royal line, they would eke out a bare existence in grinding poverty and humiliation.
But God would not forget his rebellious people, or the promise made to David. From the lowliest and humblest of roots God would raise up from Jesse’s stock a Savior for his people. The Messiah would live and go about his saving work in all the power of the Holy Spirit who would give him “wisdom” and “might.” He would not judge “by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear,” but would rule with supernatural power and understanding. His royal vestments would be “righteousness” and “faithfulness” and he would intervene on behalf of the “poor” and “meek.”
Hear the gracious and gentle invitation of Jesse’s humble son, the Messiah Jesus, and walk with him today in his healing power and rest:
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest with today’s scripture text,
Isaiah 11:1-5, and devotional.
Today’s Moments of Diaphany
- an answer to prayer
- evidence of his love and care
- evidence of his creative power and wisdom
- his help to do his work