When I think about a stump - I recall a grove of trees and plants that was at the center of our rural driveway growing up. It was filled with rhododendron bushes that bloomed in the warm months. But somewhere in the midst of all this growth there was a stump of an old tree that had been cut down, probably to make way for the new plants. This stump wasn't much of anything to look at, but became a place for me to sit and ponder the world around me as a child. Stumps are for sitting on, right?
The "stump of Jesse" referred to in Isaiah 11 is an old fashioned way of defining the Messianic line that began with King David and from whom the Son of God - the Messiah - would come. This "stump" will grow a branch and from that branch, according to chapter 11, true peace will come to pass.
In this second week of Advent - we focus on the theme of Peace, and how God is the one always coming to us - and came to us in flesh and blood in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of God's action - growth comes from unexpected places. Because of God - a small stump can produce a new branch - even a big tree.
As you ponder peace this week, look for unexpected places of peace - of growth - and hope. God changed the world starting with that "stump of Jesse" and is still at work bringing peace.
Prayer: God help us to see small signs of Peace. Help us ponder all the ways you are working in our lives. Thank you for always coming to us.
Isaiah 11:1-10 The Peaceful Kingdom
11 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
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 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 smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist,
and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 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.