This passage contains Isaiah’s prophesy of Jesus and the Christian faith itself, as a new branch sprouting from the ancient root stock of Judaism. I am fascinated by the idea that the Jews who live today have still not accepted Jesus as Messiah, but that nevertheless, out of the stump of David’s family, from the remnants of a conquered people, a whole new way to live for God was born with Jesus. If our faith in Jesus is firmly rooted in the ancient stock of God’s holy people, then it is both old and new in equal measure. We should celebrate the continuing truth of God’s promises to the chosen people of old and also, the fruit of the new and abundant growth of this christian path to God, revealed through Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 11:1-9 NLT
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. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
I love the part of today’s passage that talks about the predators lying harmlessly with their prey. When I first heard it I thought of it as some utopian – wouldn’t it be lovely if life were really like that – kind of imagery. But on reflection, it seems to follow that, when men and women find the light of Jesus they want to change their ways. When they turn from their sins and offer their lives as living sacrifices to God, it really does become possible for those, who once served evil with their lives, former snakes, lions, leopards, wolves and bears, those who devoured the weak and abused the vulnerable, to live with their ‘Prey’ in the harmony and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. No evil can really threaten the kingdom of God and so my goal is just to be ready for the time when, just as the sea is full of water, the earth will be full of people who know the Lord.
Isaiah 10:1-11:16, 2 Corinthians 12:11-21, Psalms 56:1-13, Proverbs 23:6-8