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Advent 1997 -1- A stump a shoot and a banner

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Reading: Isaiah 11:1-11
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.  Isaiah 11:10 (NIV)

I.   Nothing but a Shoot

     A.  A Hopeless time

           1.  Isaiah was a faithful man in a faithless time.

                 a.  Idolatry was at an all time high in Judah and in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

                 b.  Though God had been faithful to them, they had not been faithful to him.

           2.  Even the leaders from David’s line were corrupt, unjust, selfish and Godless.

                 a.  Ahaz was one of the most corrupt leaders of Judah — practiced child sacrifice, shut the doors to the temple and set up altars to false gods everywhere he could.

                 b.  It was probably during Ahaz’s reign that Isaiah prophesied what we find in Chapters 7-12.

           3.  Only God could help them now, and they had abandoned God.

     B.  David’s line cut off

           1.  Stump of Jesse = David and his descendants.

                 a.  Stump of Jesse (not stump of David) to emphasize David’s obscure parentage.

                 b.  Many of the leaders of God’s people seem to appear out of nowhere—so there will be no doubt where they came from.

           2.  David—a man after God’s own heart— ruled as God’s representative.

                 a.  David was chosen, though he was the youngest of 8 sons, because “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Sam.16:7)

                 b.  The Spirit of the Lord came down on David the day he was anointed by Samuel, just as the Spirit will rest on the shoot that comes from this stump

     C.  Only God can fix this!

           1.  David’s descendants had abandoned their responsibility before God and ruled for their own interests and the whims of their advisors.

           2.  Take God out of the picture and this is hopeless.

           3.  But God specializes in hopeless cases.

II.  From lost cause to Triumph

     A.  Out of a stump, a Shoot

           1.  Isaiah gives us a picture of a tree cut down at the base.

                 a.  The apparent situation is hopeless

                 b.  There is promise in the roots!

           2.  A shoot appears!

                 a.  Though there was no visible hope left, there was still hope hidden from view.

                 b.  The root is not genetic, but divine.

           3.  God is always able to turn hopelessness to triumph!

                 a.  As He did this for His people in ages past, He does it now!

                 b.  As He did this for people who didn’t deserve His help, He does it now!

     B.  A King like no other

           1.  God’s Spirit on him in a mighty way.

                 a.  Jesus baptism

                 b.  Jesus’ inaugural sermon

           2.  A completely righteous judge

                 a.  Our King comes not to condemn the world but to save it!

                 b.  He will decide, the way God decided on David!

           3.  A rule that benefits everyone

                 a.  Good folks and needy folks will have justice.

                 b.  The violent, abusers, victimizers, the wicked will be gotten rid of.

     C.  Everything changes

           1.  The age of the Messiah will contain more peace than the present age contains violence.

                 a.  A ruler is supposed to put an end to wrong and make life better for good people — this king will!

           2.  Mortal enemies will live in peace

                 a.  Even animals!

           3.  The innocent won’t be victims of the aggressive.

                 a.  Children won’t get bit by snakes!

III. A Rallying point

     A.  A banner is Lifted

           1.  A Root is a Banner?

                 a.  What was hidden becomes a banner for all to see.

           2.  Jesus is the banner.

                 a.  But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (John 12:32)

           3.  That cross is lifted now as a rallying point for the world

     B.  The Nations rally round

           1.  The nations (gentiles) rally to the banner.

                 a.  People who have never known God are finding Him through Jesus

           2.  From everywhere they are coming

           3.  They are coming to His place of rest

     C.  The Remnants return

           1.  Those who have been scattered

           2.  Those faithful when no one else was come home to Jesus.

           3.  Those who lost their faith find it when they see the banner


     Isaiah could only look forward to a time beyond his lifetime when God would fulfill this promise. We see it clearly through the coming of the final son of David: our Lord and Savior Jesus, whose birth we celebrate in just a few weeks.

The Bottom Line:

Even when all seems Lost, God displays his Love and power in Amazing ways.

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