Let’s read Isaiah 11:1-9
Throughout Scripture, G-d made numerous covenants with people. It is through these covenantal promises that we learn about the faithfulness of G-d. G-d is always faithful to His covenantal promises. There were times when G-d gave the children of Israel prophecies concerning the consequences they were going to receive for their disobedience and rebellion. G-d told them He was going to cast them aside and divorce them. No sooner had these proclamations of judgment and divorce gone out, G-d, rich in kindness and grace, was calling His people to repentance and was reaffirming His covenantal promises to them.
v1: Come forth: This term in Hebrew is a term that is often related to redemption. It is from the same root as the word that the ‘exodus’(from Egypt) comes from.
- Shall come forth a Rod (‘twig’) from the stem (literally ‘stump’) of Jesse: This speaks about G-d’s covenantal promise to King David. G-d promised David that the Messiah would come from his seed (2 Sam 7:12-16).
- Stem/stump: The use of this word ‘stump’ seems to suggest that the covenant G-d made with David was cut down. Once G-d makes a covenant, He may distance Himself momentarily from it (because of someone else’s disobedience and rebellion) but in that same generation, or in another generation down the road, G-d will again affirm, restore and fulfil His covenant. David was not a perfect man. He sinned and his children sinned. Nevertheless, G-d did in fact raise up from David and his offspring the Messiah –Messiah Yeshua (Matthew 1).
- Jesse: The father of David.
- Branch: This word in Hebrew shares the same root as the word for Nazareth. This is a word that means to be separated or sanctified. It has to do with keeping, guarding or denying ourselves in obedience to G-d. Yeshua, this Branch, was going to deny Himself in order to keep the Word of G-d.
- Shall grow/Blossom: This twig/branch is going to flourish. It is going to be fruitful or successful.
v2: Note: This verse gives us a very clear definition of the character and of the benefits of the Spirit of G-d.
- The Spirit of the L-rd: The phrase usually used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh, Old Testament) is ‘The Spirit of G-d’(Gen 1:2). Here we see a change in the usual terminology.
- L-rd: YHWH. The sacred name of G-d. The name that refers to His transcendence – the G-d who was, the G-d who is and the G-d who is to come. G-d has no limit on His time. He transcends time. G-d remembers past promises, He works on them in the present and all of them have future implications. The mention of the Spirit should always remind us of the order that G-d is going to bring about in circumstances.
- Wisdom and understanding: These help us to utilise the knowledge of G-d. They help us to share that knowledge effectively with others.
- Counsel and might: Putting His counsel into practice ensures that we become recipients of His power. This power enables us to demonstrate G-d’s priority in our lives.
- Knowledge: Given the ability to know things.
- The fear of the L-rd: Giving G-d priority in our lives.
v3: His…He: Referring to this shoot/twig from Jesse – ie The Messiah, upon whom the Spirit of G-d was going to rest.
- His delight: The word for delight here is a word related to smell…a scent…a fragrance. This could be translated as literally: ‘He will smell the fear of the L-rd. Through a smell, an odour, He (the Messiah) would be able to discern the fear of the L-rd – His priority. The sense of smell has the ability to trigger memories – both good and bad memories. Smell helps us to detect desirable foods, hazards, pheromones etc and it plays a role in taste (see also 2 Cor 2:15-16, Gen 8:21, Ps 115:6, Ps 34:8-9 etc).
- Not judge by the sight of His eyes…nor decide with the hearing of His ears: He would not have to see or hear anything to know the reality of a situation. Messiah is going to be able to render judgment perfectly because of what He smells. An example of something similar would be this: When people undergo lie detector tests, chemical and physiological changes take place in their bodies. Sweat, even if unseen, is released and this gives off a slight odour. These changes play a role in making accurate judgments regarding the person being tested. Smell plays a role in Messiah’s judgment – in His ability to judge in a way that leads to righteous judgments.
v4: Equity: This word, from a geographical standpoint, refers to a plain – a flat place, not a peak or a mountain. This judgment, so to speak, is made on a level playing field. It is upright and honest. It is fair to everybody.
- Strike the earth with the rod of His mouth: G-d simply has to speak, and the punishment/judgment will come forth. His judgments are unique.
- With the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked: This same kind of terminology is used in the New Testament in regard to the second coming of Messiah (2 Thess 2:8, Rev 19:15 etc). Messiah’s second coming is characterised by judgment.
v5: (Gird/Belt His waist … gird His loins): Girding has to do with being a servant. Here it was prophesied that Messiah was going to bring about the will of G-d. He was going to serve His Heavenly Father. The eternal Son of G-d always does His Father’s will, and He does it through righteousness and faithfulness.
v6: Note: G-d’s righteous and faithful judgment brings about a change in nature. Currently this world is stained and corrupted with sin, but in the Millennial Kingdom this is going to change. There is going to be a return to what was experienced in the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden animals did not eat meat but all of them only ate vegetation (green grass and herbs – Gen 2:30. It was only after the flood that animals and humans were allowed to eat meat – Gen 9:3-4). When this change happens there is once again going to be peace between the species.
- A little child shall lead them: The ferocious animals will be in submission, in subjection, even to small children.
v7: Straw: Hay. These animals will no longer eat meat but will go back to eating vegetation. They will no longer harm each other.
v8: Nursing child: A very young child – generally less than three years of age.
- Cobra…viper: Two different types of currently very dangerous snakes.
v9: My holy mountain: A reference to Jerusalem. It can be understood as in G-d’s Kingdom.
- The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the L-rd: The more we know G-d the less destruction and harm we will bring about. When we know G-d, we bring about blessing to this world, and others, rather than harm.
- As the waters cover the sea: All the sea is covered with water. In the same way, all of the Kingdom is going to reflect the knowledge of G-d.