A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1–5).
I love walking by a brook near to us, taking in the gentle gurgling water and enjoying the canopy of green from the many trees and shrubs in the area. Often I don’t pay any attention to the tree stumps near to the water. But recently as I was reading the prophecy of Isaiah, I thought of those pieces of wood rooted in the ground: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse” (v. 1). And I realized that although something like a tree stump may appear useless or decrepit, God can be working deep within.
Although God’s people at the time of the prophet Isaiah faced enemies and exile, the Lord assured them that hope would spring forth, for from the roots of a stump would come the Branch bearing fruit (v. 1). Another level of meaning in the prophecy is this Branch being the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Not only is he the Branch that bursts forth out of the lifeless stump, but he is the Vine to whom the disciples are connected (see John 15:5).
When you next go for a walk, maybe even near a gurgling brook, consider the roots and stumps that may appear seemingly dead. And know that nothing is impossible with God. May we find hope in the tree of life and be strengthened in our connection to the Lord, who dwells with us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the Branch to whom we are connected. May your Spirit flow through me, bringing renewal and new life.