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photo: CCO public domain

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And 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 the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

In that day the root of Jesse,
who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—
of him shall the nations inquire,
and his resting place shall be glorious.

Isaiah 11:1-5, 10

It isn’t often that I walk into church and feel I was well prepared for the sermon that day. But Sunday was definitely one of those days! I wrote my post on Saturday…late for Five Minute Friday, but in time to get it linked just the same. I was not expecting the word “crave” to bring up what it did in just 5 minutes and of course, I wrote longer than the allotted time.

Above is part of the Scripture reading…a familiar Christmas passage for sure! But the intro to the sermon was far from ordinary and as the sermon progressed, I realized the thought processes I had to go through to write my post prepared me for what GOD, through our pastor, Will Spink, was wanting to tell me today.

I needed to think through some painful thoughts and look them in the eye. I needed to begin to deal with the sadness of unfulfilled dreams. I don’t think I have had a particularly sad life if I look at my life objectively. I have been incredibly blessed in fact!

But Sunday, and recent days, were times to look at emotions and feelings. It is something that tends to happen often at this time of year. It causes some of us to be especially happy and others to feel incredibly sad. The sudden loss of my father during the Thanksgiving season bubbles to the surface, often unconsciously. Then I hear the date and realize, “Oh, now I know why I feel more down than usual.” It makes no difference that he died in 1973!

The context of this familiar verse can be paralleled to the fires now taking place in a beautiful forested area not far from us. It is near Gatlinburg, TN where many come to see the stunning colors of the leaves in the Fall. Now those forests and many gorgeous homes and neighborhoods have burned up! They are gone. There are only stumps of trees left. Many of the grand homes are blackened skeletons against the sky.

After those forest fires, there are only stumps of trees left. That was the state of Israel as a nation. Click To Tweet

When the the Promise seemed least likely to be fulfilled, GOD reminded them through Isaiah, that He had not forgotten

That is the place where Israel was when this prophecy was given. Judah was on the verge of being taking captive by a pagan nation. All the promises this nation had been given about Messiah, their prosperity as a nation, having their own land? They seemed gone and forgotten. It was as if they had been hit by a forest fire as a nation. All the dreams they knew were gone.

They felt forgotten by GOD. In the middle of all the gloom, this promise came of a shoot coming from Jesse’s dead old stump. At a time when the promise of Messiah seemed more hopeless than ever, GOD reminded them that life would come. He had not forgotten them!

In the middle of all the gloom, this promise came of a shoot coming from Jesse's dead old stump. Click To Tweet

It was the promise of Jesus. Talk about hope! Not only was there hope and the promise of Someone who would bring justice to the poor but there would even come a time when the curse of the Fall would be undone and lions and lambs would co-exist and children would be able to play among them (vss. 6-10) without fear of being injured. Sinners would be redeemed.

Times of sadness build in us a longing for heaven, a longing for the world to be put right…it is a good thing!

I’m certain GOD allows these times in our lives to build that longing for Him and the time to come! We get so involved in our busy lives that we forget to pay attention to the pain and emptiness that comes from unfulfilled dreams, of the sadness when the fulfilled dreams don’t bring the joy we expected, of the emptiness that came after the Fall when all of Creation groaned, waiting for the coming of Jesus.

He came to save us from sin and redeem our souls. Now we can stand before GOD in Christ, redeemed, dressed in His righteousness.

But a day is coming when all of creation will be redeemed. The groaning that creation is going through now will be over. There will be no more earthquakes or floods, no more natural disasters. The earth and all creation will be back in the order it as it was first created. There will be no more weeds or irritating bugs. It will be just like the garden of Eden was. I can’t imagine how beautiful and delightful it will be, but it will be truly wonderful!

For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of him who subjected it,
in hope
  that the creation itself will be set free
from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom
of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly
as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:19-25 (ESV)