There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of its roots. And the Spirit of God shall rest upon this branch, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of God. And the delight of the one who comes shall be in the fear of God. That one shall not judge by what the eyes see, or decide by what the ears hear; but shall judge the poor with righteousness, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth, and smite the earth with words of judgment, and slay the wicked with sentences. Righteousness shall be the belt around that one's waist, and faithfulness the belt around their loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling 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 snake, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of it, and it's dwelling shall be glorious.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Parent of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for God's mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with God's people”; and again, “Praise God, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise God”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in Christ the Gentiles shall hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah is dreaming about new; the recurring theme that God will do a new thing, and bring about Shalom. His vision includes a new shoot growing from an old stump. Isaiah imagines that something seemingly dead and hopeless, ready to rot and disintegrate into the dust from whence it came, can, through the spirit of God, renew, grow, and blossom into something life giving.
The imagery is beautiful. I could use something new- or at least renewal. I feel a little bit (a lot!) like the dead stump these days, or at the very least like that becoming a dead stump is where I am heading, possibly after a quick stop to full insanity. Things don't seem to make sense anymore, and it's dark. I'm anything but comfortable, anything but stable, anything but hopeful.
Where are you God?
It's sometimes difficult to find hope... difficult to find God these days. I certainly don't feel like praising God or thanking God right now. It's difficult to address God in any capacity other than in prayer and supplication, and maybe anger. We cry: "Where are you, God? Don't you see us? Don't you see me suffering? My life has been cut off, dreams cut down. I am broken, and sad, and don't see the bright future I was counting on, or the one you promised. Oh yeah, I remember that promise you made. What happened to 'I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'.* I remember... do you, God?