Tuesday of Advent 2 – Isaiah 11:1-10

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.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 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.

I have several fruit trees in my back yard. One apple tree bears better than others. A rather misshapen tree, it has a one branch that seems to be overloaded every year. As the summer progresses, I trim a few off, but even then, the weight of the fruit in August bends the branch closer and closer to the ground.

Isaiah likens our Lord to a fruitful branch which springs out of the root of Jesse. As I have come to know, the fruitful branches bend low, and so does our Lord. You could imagine that the rest of these verses are cataloguing the fruit of that branch. It is a Spirit-filled fruit, full of the Spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, and more. But it bends low, seeking justice for the poor and the meek, the little people of the earth, not only the high and mighty. He will exact justice, striking the earth itself in answer to the affliction of His people.

While the breath of his lips shall kill the wicked, it will utterly change the earth itself. Death itself shall be banished. Even the predators will be changed. The fearsome lion, leopard, wolf, and bear will no longer prey upon the other creatures. The child shall play over the den of a poisonous snake and no harm shall come the child. No one shall kill or destroy in God’s holy mountain.

That branch bears some awesome fruit. I cannot say that I can even imagine all that Isaiah sees. What is a lion without his fearsome teeth? How shall he eat straw like an ox? I do not know. I will keep my eyes fixed on that righteous branch, that Son of David who bends low to a manger and a cross to serve me. That is enough.

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