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December 18 – The root and the branch

Isaiah 11:1–2 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him.

Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16 

When we talk about a “family tree,” we use the same symbol that Isaiah spoke of in chapter 11. Isaiah pictures David’s father, Jesse, as the trunk or the stem of this family tree. From his son, David, onward, this would have been the family tree of the kings. Generation after generation, his sons had ruled over Judah.

What is profound, however, is the context of this verse. At the end of chapter 10, the LORD is pictured as cutting down many forests. Isaiah 10:33 says, “Those of high stature will be hewn down, And the haughty will be humbled.” The hope of Isaiah 11:1 comes on the heels of a threat. The threat is that the nations, and even their kings, will be cut down to size. In time, sadly, this would happen to the house of Jesse. They would lose their high position and they would become prisoners and slaves in exile. What had once been a mighty family tree would be a mere stump. The glory of the kings of Judah would be cut down!

Imagine if your family was forcibly taken to a foreign land and imprisoned? Would you have hope for the future? Isaiah saw hope, that from that stump a new shoot would begin to grow. God allowed the descendants of Jesse to survive, despite their sin and its consequences. Far in the future, even though He was born into a poor family under the oppression of Rome, Jesus Christ would grow out of that “stump” to become our Rod and Branch! 

Suggestion for prayer

Pray that those you know who seem to have lost all hope, that they would see the hope that is in the Rod and the Branch.

 Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel.

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