November 30, 2020 — When All Hope Seems Lost

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; — Isaiah 11:1-3
The Book of Isaiah is a book of history and of prophecy. Written by the Prophet Isaiah roughly 700 years before the birth of Jesus (740 to 700 BCE), the book contains powerful promises concerning the future. What makes this Scripture so fascinating is that when Isaiah wrote, 10 generations had passed since David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), had ruled in a united Israel. The proceeding kings after David struggled to maintain their devotion to the one true God of Israel, and thus the kingdom (and the lineage) had become a shadow of its former glory.
The promise from Isaiah 11:1-3 is rooted in this place. Despair, brokenness, hopelessness, and a very real sense that the promises God had made David may never come to pass. God had promised David a descendant who would rule on his throne forever. The centuries that passed between the life of David and the birth of Christ left that promise hanging almost seeming impossible given the condition of the situation.
As our hearts turn to the incarnation of God and we begin to think of that first Christmas morning, we would do well never to underestimate God or His promises. Nothing is impossible for God, even when everything within us screams “He can’t”, God will make a way. Though the family line of David had been “cut down” and all that was left was a “stump”, from it the promises of God would burst forth. Jesus would rise from the lineage of David and in Him every promise of God is yes and amen.
This shoot that rose from the seemingly dead, lifeless stump of Jesse wouldn’t simply be a new king. Jesus is new life and in Him we see God’s perfect love for humanity. This Shoot has and is bearing fruit across the planet. Life after life that comes to know Jesus comes into the promised family of Abraham. Each follower of Jesus come to know the wisdom and understanding He possesses are the very life and wisdom of God.
Today as you reflect on this Scripture, there are a few thoughts I would challenge us to remember during this season of Advent:
-God always keeps His promises
-God is faithful and can be trusted
-Even when it seems like there is no way, God creates a way
-Whatever season of life we are walking in, Jesus is there to guide us
-Jesus IS the Way
Father, we confess sometimes we struggle with the same hopeless despair that generations before us have. Sometimes Lord we don’t see the way. The pain and suffering blind us as we struggle to hold onto your faithful promises. Lord, remind us that even when all seems hopeless and impossible, that You are the God of impossible. Turn our hearts and minds fully to you and let us remember that you do great things with absolutely nothing. As Jesus burst forth out of the dead stump of Jesse, we know you can create life from nothing. Help us trust the One who spoke all creation into existence, thank you for Your Son Jesus, in His name we pray, amen.