Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will 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. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. Isaiah 11:1-5
I’m reminded of Daniel 4, in which God gives King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians a dream. A great tree is hacked to pieces, but the stump is protected to allow for regrowth in the proper time. God was warning Nebuchadnezzar of his coming judgement; the king was about to experience some pretty extreme humbling (that’s the hacking to pieces part), but his life would be spared, to give him the chance to repent and transform his life and kingdom.
Throughout the book of Isaiah, God gives His own people the same warning: you’re time of rebellion is coming to an end. Beware, a humbling season is just around the corner. But, with the same compassion he showed Babylon, God leaves an Israelite remnant from which the truest Life would spring forth. A man after God’s own heart, because He is God Himself. One who obeys with delight, who emulates every aspect of His Spirit’s character, who treats His beloved creation with love and tenderness.
Through these five verses I’m reminded that my amazing God shows me the same mercy He showed Babylon, Israel and countless others before me. He desires repentance, so He prunes me back. But He always leaves a stump.