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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 11:10-16

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, December 21, 2007

10 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. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

How can the same Messiah be both the “root” of Jesse and the “branch” of Jesse? David poses the same enigma in Psalm 110 when he says (as Jesus pointed out) 1 “The Lord (God) said to my Lord” (the Messiah, David’s descendant and yet greater than David, Psalm 110:1). Although there were times when Egypt could have three Pharaohs, they were always different men (rivals—this may be reflected in the references here to Lower and Upper Egypt and Cush). But both the root of Jesse and the sprouting branch of Jesse are the same individual: God himself, who created all mankind (including Jesse and his family) and who came into his creation as the smallest creature imaginable: a fertilized human egg, growing in the womb of a virgin girl. Inside Mary, God did not develop as God—he was fully and completely divine, the Maker of heaven and earth. But he grew “in stature” (size, Luke 2:52). But this passage is really about his second coming, not his first.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
and Judah’s enemies will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will lay hands on Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15 The LORD will dry up
the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that men can cross over in sandals.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt. (NIV)

The traditional enemies of Israel are shown as being defeated. This was something Israel was never able to do as a nation. Even under Joshua and David—Israel’s greatest military leaders—the Philistines were never defeated. The tribe of Dan had been allotted the Philistine towns such as Ekron and Gath (Joshua 19:43-45) but when they couldn’t find a victory, they went north instead (Joshua 19:47. Later on “Dan to Beersheba” became a way of talking about all of Israel, north to south 2 ). Here the defeat of these enemies is a reminder that God will finally defeat every enemy that we have: the devil, all temptations, and even all sins.

The infighting and jealousy and mistrust that hounded Israel and Judah would also be removed.

And more than that, the barriers that prevented people from returning home to Israel would also be removed. Red Sea? It will dry up. Euphrates River? It will be broken up into just so many creeks. (The Hebrew word nahal is equivalent to what we would call a gulch, a dry streambed that can only be filled with rain).

Temptation? We will adore God’s will and follow nothing else. Guilt? Removed forever. Sin? Completely paid for. Death? Destroyed and stingless. Tears? Dried and done with.

This is the God who loves us. This is the God who came to be with us. This is the God who will call us home. This is the God who has given us hope, peace, and eternal joy.

1 Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42. The verse is also quoted in Acts 2:34 by Peter.

2 The expression “Dan to Beersheba” is found about 9 times: Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 3:10, 17:11, 24:2, 24:15; 1 Kings 4:25; 1 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 30:5 and the idea is there in Amos 8:14, too: “‘As surely as your God lives, O Dan… as surely as the god of Beersheba lives’ they will fall, never to rise again.”

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.