Friday 17 December 2021

Bible Book:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. (vs 1–2)

Isaiah 11:1-10 Friday 17 December 2021

Psalm 145:8-21


In today's reading, the prophet Isaiah outlines his vision of hope for Israel. He feeds the prophetic tradition of a king descended from King David who will come to restore the fortunes of Israel and free it from foreign domination. (Verse 1 talks about  "a shoot from the stump of Jesse" – Jesse was King David’s father.)

Isaiah describes the qualities of leadership in this longed-for king. But there is much more. The well-being of a restored Israel will overflow into a peaceful kingdom, where the sense of goodness and rightness of all creation living well together (as in Genesis 1) will  be restored. 

This future king will be closely aligned with the character and empowerment of God. Isaiah says in verse 2: "The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him." The king will not forget his relationship to God and flowing through the king will come a spirit of wisdom and understanding; a spirit of counsel, might and knowledge, but also a fear of the Lord.

In our Christian tradition we have aligned these qualities with Jesus and a signalling that the Kingdom of God is coming close. Jesus spoke of the spirit of the Lord resting upon him (Luke 4: 18f) in a mission of solidarity with those on the edges of society. These qualities are suggested in the king Isaiah talks about in verse 4. There are also the stories of Jesus spending nights in prayer to do the will of his Father, not forgetting his relationship to God. (Luke 6:12)

As described by Isaiah, the well-being of all those in the peaceful kingdom will overflow its boundaries. Each creature will have its place, and there will be no need to be competitive to survive. So, the wolf shall live with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the kid (v. 6) and all of creation shall protect the small child. "For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."(v. 9)

It is a restoration of the vision of creation in all its goodness and balance, manifesting God’s power and presence as in the very beginning of time.


To Ponder:

  • What qualities do you think a leader needs to cultivate to initiate lasting change?
  • What obstacles are there to successful leadership, and what help do leaders need in order to remember they are not God (in other words to stay humble and fear the Lord)?
  • Humans – restored to their rightful place in creation – are to work with God as stewards to help care for the well-being of all creation. What qualities do you need to cultivate to take up your place in God's plan?
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