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December 22 – Prophets promise Christ’s coming (1): A Christmas stump

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1 

Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16

As promised, a remnant returned to the Promised Land. But only a remnant. When you hear “remnant,” think “remainder.” In mathematics, ninety-nine divided by five is nineteen, remainder four. Four is but a small fraction of the ninety-nine – a mere four percent! That’s about the size of the group that returned to Jerusalem – a small fraction of the whole. The prophet Isaiah uses not mathematics, but trees to describe how small the remnant was.

Back in Solomon’s day when the kingdom of Israel was enjoying her golden years, she was a tall, sturdy tree with leafy limbs that stretched out far and wide across the land. But because of her sin, she was cut off at ground level. Nothing but a stump remained of the once grand and glorious kingdom. What had come of God’s promise that David’s kingdom would endure forever? Had Israel’s sin nullified or voided God’s promise of the coming Saviour? No! Remember, this was a “No ifs, ands, or buts” promise from God.

Though Israel was now nothing but a stump, there was still a stump. And this stump, according to Isaiah, is a Christmas stump. We might be far more familiar with Christmas trees, but Isaiah’s Christmas stump has a much clearer connection to Christ. Isaiah says that from this Christmas stump will spring forth a Christmas shoot, a Seed, a Son. The family tree of Jesse, father of King David, would be revived and begin to grow again. The promised Saviour would still be born!

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God that His promise to send a Saviour to redeem us from the curse of our sin was a “no ifs, ands or buts” kind of promise and that though God had to punish Israel, her failures did not stop His promise from being fulfilled.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God DevotionalRev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015.

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