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Isaiah 11

Daniel Tan

Isaiah 11 (NKJV)

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;

But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 

he cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”

It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.

Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.

But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; Together they shall plunder the people of the East; They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; And the people of Ammon shall obey them.

The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, And strike it in the seven streams, And make men cross over dry-shod.

There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria, As it was for Israel In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.

Today we talk about Isaiah 11, which is basically a Messianic prophecy. In light of the switching between hope and destruction of the previous two chapters, Isaiah 11 gives a prophecy that is meant to be a form of comfort to those who are worried about what will be to come. From the “stem (line) of Jesse” (that is from the descendants of David; but instead of kingship this was about humility), there will be a rod and a branch. A king would arise upon whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest, as well as the “Spirit of wisdom and understanding… counsel and might”. We know that Jesus had the favour not only of God but of people as well, as he grew in stature with those around him (Luke 2:52). For such a person, his delight is not simply in that of the world, but in the fear of the Lord. It's strange to think of the fear of something as delightful, but remember that the word for fear as translated here is yirah (האָרְיִ), having the connotation of being in awe of something or someone. If we are able to rest in our delight of the Lord, we can fear his awesome power rather than anything else. Unlike human judges, the Messiah is not sent to judge by what he sees nor what he hears but through righteousness. Jesus was a deliverance to those who were seeking justice because it was easy to judge based on appearances, but Jesus came to be an arbiter of those who were suffering. Those who were wicked would be slain by the “breath of his lips”. The imagery here is that righteousness would gird his loins and faithfulness would be the belt at his waist. Both would be a significant part of his adornment, due to the importance of these pieces of clothing. You can think of them like the equivalent of modern-day undergarments. Generally indispensable. Some context here: the judges of the time were likely to cheat justice from the poor. Jesus would not do so. In fact, his judgment was so sure that his words themselves would apply righteousness towards those who were deserving of punishment and of sanctification. Despite all that Judah had done, God would continue to raise from them a Messiah who would come to the aid of not only Israel but the salvation of the entire world. Isaiah uses the idea of predators lying together with the young of their prey, to symbolise a new kingdom where there would be no distinction. Nature itself would be transformed wholly in the kingdom of Christ, so much so that a young child could lead these fearsome beasts. There was no need to fear anything. Meanwhile, the serpent would not need to be feared; though God made a promise that forever the serpent and man would be at odds, the serpent would finally be eradicated so that no longer would the children of man need to fear that animosity. Upon the holy mountain, no more would there be hurt. Verse 10 reinforces the idea that the Messiah comes not only for the Israelites, but for the people of the world. It will be the reinstatement not of the covenant made with Moses but the covenant made with Abraham: that through him, all nations would be saved. Everyone would be recovered from all parts of the world and returned to joyous reunion with God. There would be no more envy or enmity amongst the people; those who stand on the side of sin would be vanquished so that all that had been captured would be returned.

Daniel Tan

Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections. Daniel is in the Young Professionals ministry of the Central Christian Church.

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