Reading: Isaiah 11: 1-5
In many places winter is settling in. On the coldest of windy days, one just wants to hunker down inside with a good book and a cozy blanket. In this way, one finds a little comfort and solace in a harsh world outside. In today’s passage, Isaiah is offering a vision filled with words of hope and promise. The people are in exile. Their surroundings are secular, polytheistic, and oppressive. To a degree, they have begun to ask God how long this season of exile will last.
Into this despair and a growing sense of abandonment, God uses Isaiah to speak a word of hope. Isaiah speaks of a shoot that will come up. Just like us looking for that first burst of green after a long winter, Isaiah tells of a time coming soon when hope and promise will rise up from the house of Jesse. Isaiah goes on to describe this new King – He will reign with wisdom and understanding and power and knowledge. To these Isaiah adds that the King will give wise counsel and will live with a fear of God. And not only all of this, but the king will also stand for the needy and those dealing with injustice. To a people living in oppressive exile, someone who reigns by righteousness and faithfulness would provide great hope and promise.
Many living today need to hear these words of hope and promise. Many in our country and probably some in all of our communities need to find a little hope and promise. Some in our congregations need to know hope and promise. Hope and promise abound in this passage from Isaiah. A king who loves and cares for the needy and oppressed, one who rules with justice and righteousness – this is a king many need. This King comes to us again this year in a manger, soon to be celebrated in all of our churches. In this season where we prepare to welcome again the baby Jesus, may we also share the King of Kings, the King of justice and righteousness with a world so in need. May we each share the King’s hope and promise this day.