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; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
Isaiah 11:1-5 NIV
Stump of Jesse
As hard as it is to believe, a tree stump can eventually grow back into a full-sized tree. That’s because the roots are still there. The only difference is that the roots are no longer active. There might be enough nutrients left in the root system to cause sprouts to poke out of the ground. Given enough time, the trunk of the tree will start to recover. Whether or not that actually happens depends on how well the sprouts grow.
There is nothing so barren as a hillside that has been stripped of its trees. All that’s left are stumps and leftover branches strewn on the ground. That is the picture that the prophet Isaiah paints in the tenth chapter of his book. God’s wrath is unleashed against the rebellion and arrogance of people and nations. They rise up against the Lord and His people until God has had enough and He destroys them, leaving nothing but the stumps of their former glory. But there is hope, of course. God’s justice is always balanced by His mercy. Isaiah goes on to say this, in Isaiah 11:1-2: “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.” The story of Christmas is that mercy triumphs over justice. God is perfectly just and can’t ignore our sin and disobedience. But He also loves us, so out of His judgment, out of the stump of Jesse, David’s father, will sprout the Messiah, Jesus, the mercy of God.
These have been words from the heart.