Gov’mt of the Promised Son, Pt 2 (Isaiah 11:1-9) :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

“THERE shall come forth a Root from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of its roots. 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 of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness He shall judge the poor and decide with equity the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth. And with the breath of His lips, He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

“THE wolf also shall dwell with the lamb. The leopard shall lie down with the young goat. The calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear will graze; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. 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” (Isaiah 11:1-9, NKJV).

Isaiah lived during the time when there were two kingdoms claiming descent from God. There was the northern kingdom of Israel, which had abandoned the worship of the true God in order to serve idols and fall further into a state of apostasy. No king of Israel pointed the people to the true God, and the situation grew worse under the rule of the despicable king Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Together they transformed Israel into a center of worship to the Phoenician deity and “god” of fertility named Ba’al.

The priests of Ba’al had come against the prophet Elijah, who had challenged them to see who the true God was (1 Kings 18:20-40). God proved Himself to be true, and Elijah ordered the priests of Ba’al to be put to death for their idol worship and abominable practices of child sacrifice. It would not be too far in the future when both Ahab and Jezebel met gruesome deaths for their murders and idolatry.

Most of the kings of Israel succeeded to the throne not by lineage but by murder and intrigue. It was in decline by the time Isaiah appeared on the scene, and by 722 B.C., the northern kingdom had been conquered by the brutal Assyrian Empire. The southern kingdom of Judah still had the lineage of David, and there was a continual line of rulers who had ascended to the throne due to bloodline. However, Judah had a mix of both godly and ungodly kings who would lead the people into idolatry and the desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem that had been built by Solomon.

The king who had accomplished much for Judah was Uzziah, who had died when Isaiah began his ministry. Uzziah was a king who feared and served God, ruling for over fifty years (2 Kings 15:1-7; 2 Chronicles 26:22-23).

He was followed by his son Jotham, who was devoted to God, as was his father (2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 27:1-9), but did not do much in strengthening the faith of the nation.

He was followed by Ahaz (2 Kings 16:1-20), who was a wicked ruler, even going so far as offering his son as a sacrifice to the perverse idol Molech. He also formed unreliable alliances with other pagan nations instead of coming before the LORD for counsel.

After Ahaz, Judah had a godly ruler named Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-20; 2 Chronicles 29:1-32:33). He brought the people back to God and witnessed the defeat of the invading Assyrian armies through a supernatural act of the LORD (2 Kings 18:13-19:34; 2 Chronicles 32:1-23; Isaiah 36:1-22).

God spared Hezekiah’s life when he was sick to the point of death and gave him an additional fifteen years of life. It was also during those fifteen additional years that he became the father of Judah’s worst and ungodliest rulers, the wicked and perverse Manasseh, who, according to tradition, put Isaiah to death by having him sawn in half. Toward the end of his life, Manasseh sincerely repented of his wickedness and turned to the LORD (2 Chronicles 33:10-20), but by that time, the damage had been done. God was going to punish the nation for their disobedience and refusal to repent, even when they had heard the voice of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others who warned of coming judgment and exile.

Judah was given one last godly king, named Josiah, whose reign is covered in 2 Kings 22:1-23 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:7. He initiated major reforms and was wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD. After his death, Judah went through a succession of ungodly kings, eventually conquered by the Babylonian Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 B.C., who drove them into a period of exile for seventy years. Israel has not had a king since that time.

Verse 1 of Chapter 11 describes a root from out of the stump of Jesse, symbolizing that the kingdom of David was finished with seemingly no chance of being resurrected – a stump is what is left of a tree or bush that had been fruitful and productive. Now, there is nothing. However, God is not through with it.

Verses 2-5 tell us that a Branch shall grow out of the root, which represents the rule of the Promised Messiah to come. The Spirit of the LORD shall be upon the Branch, and He will be given wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to bring forth sound counsel. He will not allow His emotions to be the deciding factor in hearing cases but instead will judge all things with fairness and with the compassion of the LORD.

When we examine these verses, there should be no doubt whatsoever that this is a reference to the work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like a stump, He grew up and worked in a place of anonymity without any sign of noteworthy heritage or wealth. He was reared in an obscure village off the beaten path in the hills of Galilee. Yet when His time came, He would draw people to the love of God and demonstrate His deity through miracles, extraordinary teachings, compassion, and confrontation with the religious officials who had sold out their piety for worldly prestige.

He was cut down as one would cut down a stump to be forgotten by the world. Instead, He rose from the dead and paid our sin debt in full, so we are no longer bound by the sting of death and hell (John 19:30; Acts 4:12). When He returns one day to the earth, He will transform it back to the condition it was in Eden (Romans 8:20-22;1 Corinthians 2:8-9; Revelation 19:11-21, 21:1-7). Verses 6-9 give us a description of the restored Eden.

The animal kingdom will be at peace with one another, and animosity will be a thing of the past. Children will be able to play with creatures that, in this present world, would kill them. Animals that tore each other apart for food now lie peacefully side by side, eating straw and the plants of the field. All hatred, strife, pain, and evil will be gone, and the Branch (King Jesus) will rule with justice, tranquility, and love forever in righteousness. This is a promise given to us by the LORD, and it will come to pass, as He says in the Bible.

This is to be a reality that we can all be a part of if we will humble ourselves before God now, ask Him to forgive us of our sins, and come to Jesus Christ in faith for salvation, mercy, grace, and peace that the world can never offer. The Lord Jesus can come back at any time, and we need to be ready when it happens (Luke 21:28).

Every prophecy about Jesus has come or will come to pass. They are accurate and reliable. He is ready to welcome you into His kingdom. Be a part of the new world that is coming soon. It will be the greatest decision you will ever make (Romans 10:9-10, 13).