Sermon Series: Isaiah: Judgment & Hope
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
Sermon Title: Jesse’s Root
Memory Verse: Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
MAIN IDEA: Find delight, joy, and hope in being subject to the perfect reign of the exalted Messiah
NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The recorded audio/video message differs from the manuscript. Thanks for understanding.
The Joy of Serving
Our sin nature teaches us that we don’t want to be servants. The world teaches that there is nothing better than sitting around while people wait on us. The more servants one has, the more successful is the person.
Imagine having a butler to answer the door and phone, a maid to clean the house, a cook to make the meals, footmen to serve our meals and shine our shoes, a chauffeur to wash and drive the car, a launderer to prepare our wardrobe, a gardener to mow the lawn and clear the driveway. Does that sound like heaven on earth?
Guess what? It is not heaven. In heaven, we are the maid, butler, and gardener. God’s idea of heaven is that we are His servants doing His will. We are His subjects, and He is our King. Will we still desire heaven if we find out our job description says we are a servant of God?
The world, under the influence of Satan, the deceiver, has taken the very good thing of being a servant and twisted it to make it appear despicable. Satan does this with all good things. He makes the good look bad and the bad look good.
The truth is that serving is a very good thing. In the words of Jesus, serving is a great thing!
- … whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve … (Mark 10:43-45)
Serving is a great thing. Unfortunately, in our experience, the problem with serving is not the act of serving, but who we serve. Our master determines whether we enjoy serving. Serving is a horrific experience if we have a bad master. If our master is demanding and cruel, we will always hate serving and avoid it at all costs. But, if we serve a master who is loving and generous, serving is a joy.
Bad authorities make for bad servitude. The supreme authority, such as a king, determines if serving is good or bad. If there is a bad king, serving is hated. A good king will use their power, wisdom, and influence to make sure that nobody is mistreated and that everyone prospers and is treated fairly. The better the king, the better the conditions of service.
One of the themes of Isaiah is servitude. In the time of Isaiah, people are suffering under cruel kings. Life is intolerable. The leadership of Judah takes bribes and is unjust to the poor. The king of Assyria is a tyrant ruling by fear. Other nations are no better. The greatness of serving becomes dreaded. God intends to make it right again.
Isaiah uses word pictures. To express His anger, God uses the picture of trees and forests which must be destroyed.
In chapter six of Isaiah, God gives Isaiah his commission to prophesy God’s judgment to the people of Judah. “How long?” Isaiah asks. God says to prophesy until Judah is like an oak that is felled, and only a stump remains, and the stump is burnt (Isaiah 6:11-13).
In chapter nine, God describes the northern tribe, Ephraim, as being a place where wickedness burns like a fire and the fire consumes briars and thorns and sets all the thickets of the forest aflame (Isaiah 9:18). The wickedness and evil of the kingdom of Ephraim is a forest on fire because of wickedness.
In chapter ten, Isaiah speaks of how He will destroy Assyria. Twice in chapter ten, God uses the imagery of forest and trees. The first passage tells us that the light of Israel will become a fire, a Holy One a flame which will destroy the glory of the Assyrian king’s forest. When God is finished, his forest will be so small in number that a child could write down the number of trees left. (Isaiah 10:17-19)
At the end of chapter ten we have the description of how God will lop off the boughs of the trees, and they will fall with a terrible crash. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One. (Isaiah 10:33-34)
God destroys the forests of the earth because they are filled with pride and selfishness. A forest chopped down no longer appears mighty. It appears lowly. The pride of man will be humbled like a forest that is chopped low (Isaiah 2:9, 11, 12, 17; 5:15-16; 10:15).
The chopping of the forest is not the end of the story. God is a good conservationist. He doesn’t chop down a tree without replacing the tree with something better. From the ash heap of the forest in Judah, God will grow a new tree. He will lift up and exalt a new leader. Isaiah prophesied in chapter six that from out of the stump felled in Judah, a holy seed will spring forth (Isaiah 6:13).
Chapter eleven tells us more about this holy seed.
King on David’s Throne
- Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)
The picture God gives us is that there is life in one of the stumps in Judah. A green, tender shoot springs up out of the burnt stump; a branch from the lineage of Jesse, King David’s father.
Around 300 years before Isaiah, another prophet of God, Nathan, promises King David that his throne will endure and be established before God forever (2 Sa. 7:16).
God plans to have a future glorious King who is a descendant of David. This is not the first, nor the last time Isaiah acknowledges God’s promise to David. Immanuel of chapter nine, the child born to us, will sit upon the throne of David and over his kingdom forever (Isaiah 9:7). We will see more passages which Isaiah speaks of the Messiah being from David’s lineage (Isaiah 16:5; 55:4-5).
The world sees the part of this prophecy as complete. We can personally attest to the birth of this great King who God is exalting. Jesus said this prophecy is about Him. For as many are the promises of God, they find their fulfillment in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). He is born in Bethlehem as a descendant of the lineage of David. Jesus is the shoot from charred stump of Judah.
God is working today to grow the great tree of all trees who we call the King of kings. Today, we sit in the shade of the shoot that springs from the stem of Jesse.
King empowered by God’s Spirit
- The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
When the people of Isaiah’s time hear that the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, they know He is truly special. All the kings and prophets of the past who have the Spirit of the Lord are good.
Having the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him means this King acts in a capacity beyond human ability. He is a supernatural King. He possesses God’s wisdom and understanding. He will operate using God’s counsel; He does what God says for Him to do. He doesn’t act on His behalf. He has God’s supernatural strength and God’s all-knowing power.
Everything about His kingship reveals God’s empowerment. He is a King of miracles. He is a profound teacher. His decisions are made with wisdom and compassion. He is not corrupt, but rules with holiness and the purity of God the Father.
Most importantly, this King has a fear of the Lord. Because He fears God, He does not fear men. His allegiance is obeying God in all things. He reigns as a godly King because He is God the Son. The Kingdom of the Messiah is a return to a theocracy.
A theocracy is a government in which there is no human king, but God is king. In the days of the judges of Israel, the people of Israel argued for a king who is a man. The elders of Israel told Samuel, “Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations" (1 Samuel 8:4-5).
This world is divided into two kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Those who live in God’s kingdom live in the kingdom of light.
If you don’t have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are living in the kingdom of darkness. You serve the prince of darkness who does not fear the Lord. The king you serve only serves himself. He hates you, and He hates king Jesus. He is leading you to eternal destruction. Put your trust in the shoot of Jesse, the King who is filled with the fear of the Lord.
When we put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He rescues us from the kingdom of darkness and makes us citizens of His perfect kingdom of light. Christians live in a theocracy. We find great joy in living under the rule of King Jesus. This is the king we desire. We no longer serve kings who rule with corruption and pride.
Serving King Jesus is our joy. We trust His laws. We follow His leadership. He rules with love. We obey His commands because His commands are for our good and the good of others.
King reigning with perfect justice and righteousness
Isaiah describes how the Messiah King will rule the earth.
- 3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3-5)
Jesus, the God King, rules, and reigns as we might expect. He delights in the fear of the Lord means He has no allegiance but to God. His joy comes from obeying God. There is no lobbyist who can sway His opinion. There is no special cause that sways His judgment. His sole influence is God.
His judgment is supernatural. He sees beyond the physical and looks to the heart of matters. He judges motives. He doesn’t just look at face-value. Perfect justice requires complete wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
His kingship is not resting upon political favors of the rich and powerful. He is neither democrat or republican, socialist, imperialist, or a member of the Green Party. There is no lobbyist who may sway His opinion. He counts all the citizens of His kingdom as His favored ones. He especially cares for the afflicted and the poor.
Jesus wears the belt of righteousness and faithfulness. It holds together His garment of holiness. Righteousness is capacity for doing the right thing in all circumstances. His faithfulness means complete integrity and dependability. We may depend on Him to be forever faithful to executing what is right and good.
All those who do not bend their knee to Christ are His enemy. If you have not bent your knee to His rule, He will judge you. He will not allow those who refuse Him as Lord in His kingdom. Today is the day to bend your knee and declare Jesus as Lord. Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait until it is too late, and He issues His decree of judgment.
All who are wicked are judged with perfect righteousness and holiness. Jesus has moral force; striking down the wicked. Jesus only needs to speak the word, and at His command, the heavenly hosts respond to His judgment with perfect and swift obedience.
Imagine living in His kingdom and evil is eradicated forever.
King who subjects all things to Himself
We now come to the prophecy of Jesus reign which speaks of the future.
- 6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Although this prophecy is not yet fulfilled, we can be very excited about the surety that it will. We know God will make it come to pass. God is faithful to His word. These words are given to us to inspire hope.
It may be one thing to remove evil people. But, there still exists the problem of dangerous animals. Ever since Noah left the Ark after the flood, man and beast have not had a good relationship. This is because God ordained this to be so. God told Noah, “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given (Genesis 9:2).”
Unfortunately, because of sin, all of creation is corrupt. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans chapter eight. He tells us that creation is subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of God. All of creation is waiting and hoping for the revealing of the final day when Christ sits on His throne and evil is conquered. In that day, creation will be set free from its slavery to corruption. It will join the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Until that day, creation groans and suffers. (Romans 8:19-22)
This prophecy of King Jesus says Jesus will restore all things, including creation. His rule includes the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom becomes subject to the kingdom of Jesus. What king among men may demonstrate this extent of power and authority?
These words are inspiring. Wolves, lambs, leopards, goats, calves, bears, and lions will eat straw and lie down together. Children will walk among the animals. We will never have to warn our children about poisonous snakes. The is no hurt, and nothing destroyed because Jesus sits as king on God’s holy mountain.
Death is conquered. All fear and insecurity because of danger is removed. Life is characterized by innocence and simplicity as children walk about with no need for their parents to warn them of dangers. There are no babysitters in heaven.
The reason for this beautiful picture of glorious peace and innocence is that the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. When we go to the sea and stand on the shore, we see water covers all the sea. Every wave is covered with water. Every cove and every expanse is covered with water.
Knowledge of the Lord is the only hope for this fallen world. When we spread the gospel, we are taking part in covering the earth with the knowledge of the Lord. The church is God’s mouthpiece to spread the knowledge of the Lord. We must never underestimate the power of God’s word going forth. Knowledge of Jesus Christ transforms. It makes the angry peaceful. It brings calm to the storm.
What a joy and privilege to be the cloud which holds the rain to water and drench the earth with the knowledge of Jesus our Lord.
Glorious King of all kings
- 10 Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)
God will exalt Jesus above all things. Everything else is made low, and He is lifted high. He will be a signal to the nations. A signal is used for the gathering of soldiers together; it is a sign of coming together because victory is won. The nations will see the signal and come to Christ.
When the nations gather, everyone finds rest. The burden and guilt of sin are gone. Sin and death no longer have power. The sting of death is gone. Everyone will run to the Jesus as He sits on the throne as a signal to all of creation. The Prince of Peace brings everyone to live in His glory.
Jesus is exalted and enjoyed. He is the desire of the nations. All people look to Him. All people rely upon Him for their protection and providential loving care. All people rest in the Sabbath of His eternal kingdom.
Be a Servant
We have a future. Our future begins today. We don’t have to wait for the Kingdom of Jesus to come. It is already here. We are living in His kingdom now.
Jesus is our Savior, and He is our Lord today.
Don’t be fooled by this world. Serving is not a chore or drudgery. Be great in the kingdom by being a servant of all. Serve God. Serve your family at home. Be known as the one who serves everyone at work.
When someone asks us about why we serve, we may say it is because we serve a risen Savior. Serving is a joy because we serve a good, righteous, loving King. Serving Jesus is good. Serving Jesus is what we are created to do.
(MAIN IDEA) Find delight, joy, and hope in being subject to the perfect reign of the exalted Messiah.