A Promise of Righteousness, Justice, and Peace
His Coming Anticipated
Day 4 Wednesday, December 1st
1. Recognize the Context:
After the prophecy of the Messiah's birth in Isaiah 9:1-7, the remainder of chapters 9 and 10 present the coming judgment for Israel and Assyria. Chapter 11 returns to the promise of hope with the Messiah's mission.
2. Read the Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-9
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.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
Today's more extended passage must be viewed in its entirety. In verse 1, the stump imagery signifies a tree cut down. However, a shoot or branch will come forth from this “stump of Jesse” and restore the Davidic dynasty as promised by God. This ruler will have the Spirit of the Lord upon him (verse 2). His kingdom will exercise righteousness and justice (verses 3-5). The result will be a kingdom characterized by peace, best expressed with creation imagery (verses 6-9).
Various words and phrases scattered throughout this passage provide allusions back to Genesis 1-3. The presence of the Spirit of the Lord, the image of the earth being filled, the waters of the sea, the animal imagery in the list of contrasts, and the restoration of human authority over the snake (viper) all provide an allusion back to the initial creation, where humans had dominion as God’s representatives. This Messianic king will function as a new Adam with authority from God to bring about a new creation characterized by justice and peace.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Ask God how you can bring righteousness, justice, and peace everywhere you go this Advent season-home, work, school, church, etc.
Today, pray that the knowledge of the Lord would fill the earth.
Today, if you are in Christ, you are the recipient of his new creation work. Remember, 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds believers, "the old is gone, the new has come.” Prayerfully consider how your life is evidence of his new creation work in the world. Ask God how you can demonstrate this to others?
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Our world today desperately needs to see justice and peace from God’s perspective. Prayerfully consider practical ways your church can express a biblical perspective of justice and peace in the local community. Share your thoughts with other church or family members.
What action steps can you take this week to “fill your part of the earth” with the knowledge of the Lord?
To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)
Reread Isaiah 11:1-9 and then read Genesis 1-3. Pay specific attention to the creation/new creation parallels.
Read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Notice the new creation life is characterized by the ministry of reconciliation, a concept very much related to righteousness, justice, and peace.
Read and reflect on Romans 5:12-21. Paul provides a comparison of Adam with Jesus, the new Adam of the new creation.
Read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. This is another passage comparing Adam and Christ in light of the resurrection.