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The Reign of the Christ

1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 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. 3 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, 4 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. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:1–5 ESV)

In contrast to the mighty, impressive tree of Assyria (10:33-34), Isaiah prophesies that a shoot will come from the stump of Jesse. A branch from the roots of Jesse will bear fruit. This is an amazing image. Judah is pictured as having been cut down, a mere stump. There are no branches, no trees, no life, no hope, and no sound. Just a stump as a reminder of the life and power that previously existed. But from that stump a shoot grows. Life is now seen. Notice that this is not the stump of David. Rather, a shoot from Jesse is going to come. The point is that this not just another failed king from the lineage of David, but another David. This is the son of Jesse. David is going to come. This is the Davidic king who rules with justice and gathers people from the far reaches of the world. He will replace the proud Assyrian tyrant who destroys and scatters many nations. Further, the Spirit of the Lord will empower and guide this new king. The Spirit of the Lord coming upon this king shows us again that this is David ruling. Listen to what happened when Samuel came to anoint David as the future king.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV)

He will not depend on his own strength or wisdom like the king of Assyria did. Having the Spirit of the Lord means that he is going to exhibit different behavior than other kings. The unimpressive shoot will be the hope of the world. God is going to use the unimpressive, foolish things to put to shame the wise of this world. God is in the business of demonstrating his own glory by using the seemingly unimpressive to accomplish his plans.

This “king David” will not make the foolish mistakes like Ahaz did during his rule. This king will delight in the fear of the Lord. His mouth will contain the royal decrees and execute his will. Everything will be guided by justice, upright behavior, and faithfulness. He will perfectly display God’s character like clothes on him. Inwardly, he delights in the Lord. Outwardly, he commits himself to righteousness. He is the king after God’s own heart. The second half of verse 4 comes from Psalm 2:9, reminding us that this is the Messiah and his rule will be the striking down of the enemies. Jesus is the king we must desire to serve because he is like no other. His rule is a rule of righteousness and justice. His rule is compassionate and loving toward his people. His rule destroys those who stand against his followers.

Jesus is the great king reigning on the throne and his ways are right, not ours. We are to conform our thinking and our values to his righteous decrees. We do not determine morality. We do not set the standard for what is right and wrong. We do not define what is lawful or unlawful. We do not define what is sin and what is not sin. Jesus the righteous king does and all are to submit to his decrees which are found in the scriptures. When it comes to defining murder to marriage, Jesus is the only one who gives the righteous answer in his holy word. Looking to humans for the answers only gives false, inaccurate answers for we are are sinful and worthy of God’s holy judgment.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 ESV)