By Sally Lombardo
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 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. 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, 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. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. 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.” (Isaiah 11:1-6)
Often in the Old Testament poetry, Israel and her people are referred to as “shoots of tender grass” or fertile fields. The imagery of nature and cultivation is rich in God’s language of hope. In this passage, the shoot to which Isaiah refers will come from the root of Jesse the shepherd, father to King David. In 1 Samuel 16:1, the Lord tells Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king” (NIV). Jesse is mentioned because he had eight sons; the last was David. Samuel tells us, “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David,” and he eventually becomes king (16:13). The Spirit would be with his descendent, Jesus.
David was the most illustrious of Israel’s kings, an author of many psalms, and a man who devoted himself to God. The term “Branch” is used beautifully in Scripture to describe King David, subsequent kings of Israel, and for Jesus the Christ: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will go out from his place and build the temple of the Lord” says the prophet Zechariah (6:12 NIV). Just as with most prophecy, the words are layered and refer to kings, other leaders, and prophets who followed God and would announce his kingdom to earth. In the case of Isaiah 11, the passage clearly refers to Jesus as the coming and greatest King. He is the true Branch who bears fruit for us and for generations.
As disciples who follow Christ, we need this Spirit of the Lord to be with us. We need His wisdom, understanding, and wise counsel. We depend on the might and power of the cross and of Jesus himself as we try to follow God’s will, help the needy, and love our fellow man.
Think of Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth… the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet fitted with the readiness” (Ephesians 6:14-15 NIV). Now that you see its origin, what does living God’s righteousness mean to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
Comments will be approved before showing up.