Sea of Faithfulness

Opening Prayer

Ask the Lord to lift your spirits as you read his Word today.

Read Isaiah 11:1–16

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. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will subdue Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15 The Lord will dry up
the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that anyone can cross over in sandals.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt.

Reflect

In the middle of destruction God allows hope to spring up. Is there a dead place in your life that God can restore?

The kingdom of Assyria has fallen and the kingdom of God is coming. Assyria’s forests were permanently destroyed in 10:18,19. Not so for Judah. From the stump of Jesse (King David’s father) a tender green shoot will sprout. This new fruit bearing Branch (11:1) is the Messiah.
The cute baby in the manger our society just (imperfectly) celebrated this week, is in truth this majestic figure on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests (2). Jesus will subdue his people’s enemies (14) and erase injustice (3,4). He will create a world where the natural environment is in complete harmony (6–8), not just in some well-meaning New Age-y way, but in solid observable fact.
Jesus will call every last lonely member of his remnant from every corner of the earth (10–12). He will create a superhighway (15,16) leading them back to a great assembly (12). How exciting to think of a time when believers will not fight each other any more (13) and the knowledge of God will be deep and wide as the ocean (9)!
We saw the beginning of this in the babe of Bethlehem. It was made possible by his death and resurrection on our behalf. And now we await the full expression of his kingdom.

Apply

How can you reconcile with other believers that may be different than you. Remember we will all be together in heaven.

Closing prayer

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider