Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Isaiah 11 – The Peaceful Kingdom

“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

~Isaiah 11:1 (NRSV)

This particular offering from Isaiah—the eleventh chapter—is no period piece of its own exclusive right, despite the melody of hope it would have rung for the Remnant. The Assyrian invasion would sweep through the land, but the remnant of Israel would be born again of salvation: the hope out of a branch; a new branch—the stump of Jesse—from which the Messiah would come.

The peaceful kingdom was a prophecy of an existence not too far off—one that’s now been realised in Jesus. It is also the prophecy of the time furnished in fulfilment; an occasion yet to come. In both realms it is a glorious hope.

The Divine Destination Of Peace

We may all connect with exilic imagery; our lives a plunder from an enemy.

Many of us came to faith that way. Perhaps there was sufficient disobedience in God’s sight for there to be sent a divine or not-so-divine actor (probably a circumstance) that would turn us over in our sin. Maybe we were almost entirely innocent and grief got us into the kingdom because we were so desperate for God; for divine help. Possibly it was that we were found here—peace: the legacy of our parent’s wisdom.

How we actually entered the kingdom may not be important; we are here now.

As we look around we notice about our world, with this new kingdom sight, there is much more peace than we could ever have imagined. All sorts of different beings cohabit at joy in the Lord.

To know Jesus, our Saviour, is a commonality above all commonalities. In him is fellowship connected by the deepest love that has saved one and all, equally. To belong in the Remnant—Christ’s church—is to know this fellowship and a hope of salvation, here and to come.

Assurances For Peace Evermore

From the two divisions of Isaiah 11—verses 1-9 and 12-16—we get quite different poetic images of the saving grace of God. The first speaks of the Messiah’s coming and the global peace upon which it is both brought and, over the earth, borne. The second reassures the Remnant that the Lord is the Mighty Avenger who will destroy every nation set upon his anointed Remnant, the church.

Both for the positive and negative—in harmony (verses 1-9) and for war (verses 12-16)—God is providing peace.

As we imagine the 16 verses being read aloud in the synagogue we can envisage the inspirational stir such a reading would have created—hope for a not-so-distant future the Remnant hoped for.


We have a taste of it here and it will become more fully known. We belong to a peaceful kingdom—those who know Christ. Still a little way off is the full geography of that reality. We are not there yet, but we are vouchsafed in this Divine Hope. It is abundantly enough for now.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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