11/29/2010

Paradise (Isaiah 11)

As Isaiah portrays God's destructive judgment as the felling of a vast forest (Isa 10:33,34), he portrays the Messiah as a shoot or twig growing from a stump remaining after God's judgment (Isa 4:2, 6:13, 53:2).

The Righteous Reign of the Messiah (Isa 11:1-5)

The Messiah, referred to as "a branch," will come from the house of Jesse, the father of David (Isa 11:1,10). This continues the theme of the coming heir of David, who is Immanuel--God with us (Isa 7:10-14), and a son (Isa 9:1-7). As David was empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Sam 16:13), the Messiah is more richly endowed with a 3-fold fullness of the Spirit (Isa 11:2):

  • "wisdom and understanding" for leadership
  • "counsel and might" to carry out his wise plans
  • "knowledge and the fear of the Lord" for holiness
In sharp contrast with faulty human leaders including David, the Messiah will delight "in the fear of the Lord" (Isa 11:3a; Prov 1:7), and thus promote reverence among those he rules. Unlike human leaders who judge by what they see or hear (Isa 11:3b), the Messiah judges and decides by righteousness and justice (Isa 11:4,5; 2:4). Human leaders like strong and impressive people who will benefit them, but the Messiah treasures the poor and the needy who are generally despised or ignored.

No Predators but Peace when the Messiah Rules (Isa 11:6-10)

Stronger men oppress weaker men, just as predatory wolves go after docile lambs. But where the Messiah rules, "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" (Isa 11:6). This is so because when the Messiah reigns, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isa 11:9).

The Messiah will recover the remnant of his people (Isa 11:11-16)

God's power, expressed as "his hand" (Isa 11:11,15), will gather in all his people--the "remnant of his people" (Isa 11:11,16), and no earthly power can prevent God from doing so. Even mighty enemy Assyria becomes an avenue for the salvation of God's remnant (Isa 11:16).

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