Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Isaiah 11:1a, "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse."
Assyria served as God's mass tool of destruction upon His people who turned away from him. Assyria served as God's rod of wrath against the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This tyrannical foe completely and fully overthrew the Northern Kingdom. A three-year siege was laid against Israel until Assyria finally took the capital of Samaria in 722 or 721 B.C. Israel was literally left desolate with nothing but stumps remaining.
We have all experienced being cut down, being made so low that there is no stump, no hope left. It's the words or actions of others that make us feel so tiny and insignificant, minute and miniscule in this world. These are the words that cut right to the root of our hearts.
Other times we are that tyrannical foe oppressing the weak and weary. We seek to puff up our own chests and build our own kingdoms with words that exalt us over the minute and miniscule.
For our sin, we, like Israel, will be chopped down and laid low. We will be made even lower than the stump of a tree. We will be made as low as the dust of the earth. We will die.
Still Isaiah's promise remained. The stump of Jesse, the coming King, the coming Messiah, the greater David would come with wisdom and understanding, council and might. This humble king would bring full and true peace on earth. The stump was humbly born to the Virgin Mary. This kingly stump grew. Isaiah tells us in 53:2 that "He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground."
This root sprung forth and grew only to be chopped down himself. He was executed, oddly enough, on a tree. He himself was made as low as the dust of the earth. He died.
But the stump of Jesse laid lifeless in a tomb only to shoot forth from the grave. By his resurrection, Jesus turned the tool of his Father's destruction into a life-giving stump.
Satan's tyrannical rule is over. Though Satan wins the battle of death, though he lay all of us low, the stump of Jesse will have one final victory. King Jesus will come to raise up the stumps of your lifeless flesh. This is our Advent hope and joy!