In Isaiah 4 we learned of a coming “branch of the Lord.” We begin Isaiah 11 with the good news of this “branch,” who will be “a shoot from the stump of Jesse.” Though different Hebrew words are used in Chapter 4 and Chapter 11, the person they describe is the same. This Messiah who would be before King David and also after King David would be Jesus Christ. He would be full of the Holy Spirit beyond measure, and would rule the kingdom of God with wisdom and with “the fear of the Lord.”
No longer would deceptive people be able to abuse the poor. Our King would rule “with righteousness” and “with equity.” He would bring a very different world into being, where “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb.” In our current environment, a child certainly should not “play over the hole of the cobra.” In this future world of perfect security, such dangers would be gone.
When would this promise be fulfilled? The New Testament teaches us in Revelation 21 of a new land of life, where “death will be no more.” In the words of Isaiah 11:9, “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.” In that perfect day, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”
While this new era would begin with the first coming of the King as a humble child, one day the struggle of faith in this broken world would come to an end. When the great King would return, “His resting place shall be glorious.” Throughout the many centuries between His first arrival and His return in majesty, He would be reigning, but in such a way that we would not “yet see everything in subjection to Him.” (Hebrews 2:8-9)
During this proclamation portion of the resurrection era, Jesus would be “a signal for the peoples.” During these many years, the Gentiles would no longer be kept in complete darkness. “Of Him shall the nations inquire.” The Apostle Paul, quoting Isaiah 11:10 in Romans 15:12, gives us a clear New Testament interpretation of Isaiah’s words. The gathering of the Gentiles through the preaching of the church was for Paul a present manifestation of the reign of “the root of Jesse.”
“In that day the Lord will extend His hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of His people.” This assembly would include not only the faithful from Israel, but even the chosen ones “from Assyria” and “from the coastlands of the sea.”
Particularly through His death and resurrection, Christ became “a signal for the nations.” The words of Isaiah suggested this in the Old Testament days of shadows. The letters of Paul confirmed it after the dawning of the new era of resurrection. As Isaiah 11:16 recorded so long ago, “There will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of His people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.” That assembly of worshipers would include not only a few neighbor nations of Israel that could be named by Isaiah, but many other people groups where the God of Israel had never before been proclaimed.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, we long to see the Branch who has come from the root of Jesse. The greatest Son of David has proven Himself by His atoning love. Now we wait for His return, for His judgment will mean peace and vindication for the people You love. On that day, the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of You. We shall see the perfect peace that Your Son won for us through the cross. Father, we are the remnant of Your people from all the nations. We are the Jews and Gentiles who believe in Your Name. We are the ones that You spoke of so long ago. We wait for You and serve You with both joy and expectation even now.