Sermon on Isaiah 11:1-10
Text: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 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 — 3 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; 4 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. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
This time of year is filled with anticipation. Children are filled with anticipation as they see their gifts under the tree. They try to guess what is in each package and hope that it is what they have been asking for. Perhaps, you are filled with anticipation as you look forward to the various holiday get-togethers. You might be eagerly anticipating the arrival of family members to your home. This time of year is all about anticipation. This season of the church year is also about anticipation. We eagerly await the opportunity to celebrate the wondrous gift of love that God gave to the world at Christmas in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. This morning, as we get ready to welcome him, we are reminded of the fact that Jesus is also a king. This morning, we are going to focus our attention on this fact. YOUR ADVENT KING COMES 1. From An Unlikely Source 2. Thoroughly Equipped 3. To Establish A Kingdom Of Peace.
Just prior to our text, God pronounces judgement on various nations that had opposed his people. He said in Isaiah 10:33&34, “See, the LORD, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.” God uses the picture of cutting down these great trees, these mighty nations, so that they are nothing more than dead stumps. However, the nation of Judah would not be immune to this judgement. Time and again, they had turned their backs on God and followed after idols. They, too, would be cut down. Yet, there is one difference between this stump and all of the rest. It says in verse 1, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Though this stump appeared to be lifeless, a shoot would come up from it.
This is a picture of the coming of Jesus. By the time, Jesus came to the world, the line of Jesse, David’s father, appeared to be lifeless. There was nothing special about it, at least at first glance. When the Shoot appeared, he was born on Bethlehem, the hometown of Jesse and David. Although Mary and Joseph were both descendants of King David, Jesus was not born in a palace but in a stable. No descendant of David ruled Judah at the time. Mary was a humble woman from Nazareth engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. Nazareth was not highly regarded in Judea. Jerusalem was the important city. Clearly, the royal line of David was a dead stump without power, influence or wealth.
However, looks can be deceiving. Though it appeared to be a dead stump, yet from it would come this little shoot. Yet, there was nothing ordinary about this shoot. We see him described in verses 2&3, “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.” The Holy Spirit would be upon him. We see this portrayed when Jesus was baptized. The Holy Spirit came upon him the form of a dove. Just as the Old Testament kings were anointed by having oil pored upon their heads, this King was anointed with the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, the words “Messiah” and “Christ” mean “Anointed One.” The Holy Spirit would give to this King all that he needed to carry out the task set before him.
We note the various gifts that were given by the Spirit. It says that he is “The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding.” Wisdom is the ability to look into the very essence of things. Understanding is the ability to distinguish and perceive differences. This pair of blessings gives the King insight into all things that his people would need to know and understand, including the depths of God’s nature and grace. It says that he is “The Spirit of counsel and of might.” Counsel is the ability to know what his people need and give them advice. We see this counsel given in his Word. He also has the Spirit of power. He can defend his people and also carry out the plan that he devised. It says that he is “The Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD.” Knowledge implies an acquaintance with the Lord and with the plan of salvation that God put into place to rescue his people. The fear of the Lord is a reverent respect for the Lord. He submits to what the Father wants him to do. He doesn’t carry this plan out slavishly, either. It says that “He will delight in the fear of the LORD.” This is what he wants to do. This is what gives him pleasure. God has given this Shoot, this King, all of the gifts necessary for carrying out his task.
We, also, take note of two articles of clothing that he is pictured as wearing. It says in verse 5, “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” Righteousness does not simply express a conformity to a bunch of rules. Rather, it suggests a God who is himself the standard of perfection and one who provides all that his people need to meet that standard. God’s righteousness is absolute. All who are not righteous will be judged and destroyed. However, God has provided the world with the only righteousness he will accept. Furthermore, he is wearing the sash of faithfulness. Faithfulness is steadiness and reliability. He does not change his mind or course. The King pursues the plans that he has determined. What this King reveals and promises will be done. He is faithful in all that he says.
How beautifully this describes the work of Jesus! You and I were not righteous in the sight of our holy God. We cannot meet God’s exacting standards. This is evidenced in the fact that we continually sin against our God. For example, how often doesn’t our anticipation turn into impatience. We become impatient with people we come into contact with. We are impatient with other drivers on the road. We are impatient with people in the stores. We are impatient with members of our own families. Often our impatience is shown in angry thoughts, words, and actions. These acts of impatience and even the impatience itself are sins. We do not have the righteousness to appear before our holy God. However, Jesus came and fulfilled all righteousness in our place. He “delighted in the fear of the LORD.” He kept all of the requirements of the law in our place. So that we would be considered righteous, Jesus continued to carry out his Father’s plan by going to the cross to pay for all of our sins. By his resurrection, we have the assurance that we have been forgiven and stand righteous before God. Our King was thoroughly equipped to carry out his Father’s plan for our salvation. Our Advent King has come and made us a part of his kingdom.
We have a description of his kingdom in verses 6-9, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” God uses some beautiful pictures to describe a place of complete peace and security. All of these natural enemies are existing in absolute peace and harmony. First of all, this describes the relationship that now exists between God and his children. Where, before there was rebellion on our part and just anger on the part of God, which would have led to our eternal destruction in hell, there is now peace. Our King has made peace with sinners. Any reason to doubt the intention of the goodness of our King has been removed. He has created a covenant of peace through the shedding of his blood. Because of our King, we are at peace with God.
This is also a picture of the peace that we will enjoy when we reach heaven. All of the things that threaten us will be gone. Everything that makes our lives so difficult here will be no more. We will live in perfect security and perfect peace. We have a picture of our loving King in Revelation 21:3&4, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” That is the everlasting kingdom of peace that we have to look forward to.
However, we do not have to wait that long to experience the peace that Isaiah is describing for us. This is also a picture of Christ’s rule over his own, the assembly of believers. It says in verse 9, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Since this is true, believers live in peace and harmony with one another. It is true that the sinful nature boils within human hearts and leads to “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, (and) factions.” (Galatians 5:20) However, the gospel changes human hearts and fills them with “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22&23) This is what Paul was encouraging in Romans 15:5&6, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We can enjoy this kingdom of peace even here and now.
Some might argue that Christians do not live in peace and harmony with one another under Christ’s rule. It is undoubtedly true that believers on this earth are still plagued by their sinful nature and that this nature will lead to trouble, discord, and argument among Christians, too. Nevertheless, the preaching of the gospel brings believers into agreement and motivates enemies to embrace and forgive as they have been forgiven. The peace with God through Christ produces peace among his followers. Even if that peace is marred by sins of jealousy, prejudice, pride, and hatred, it can and does exist among those who follow the Prince of Peace. It is our prayer that this may continue to increase so that we may enjoy yet another blessing that comes from our Advent King.
Earlier, we spoke about anticipation. The truth of the matter is that sometimes reality does not meet our anticipation. The gifts under the tree do not contain the longed for toy, but a new sweater. The holiday party ends up falling flat. The company we hoped to see is not able to make it to our house for one reason or another. How thankful we are that our Advent King does not disappoint. Though he may have come from an unlikely source, he was thoroughly equipped to carry out the task he had been given. He has established his kingdom, a kingdom where he reigns in absolute peace. May we use this time of year to get ready to welcome him. Amen.
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