1 A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse;
a branch will sprout from his roots.
2 The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him,
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of planning and strength,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
3 He will delight in fearing the Lord.
He won’t judge by appearances,
nor decide by hearsay.
4 He will judge the needy with righteousness,
and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land.
He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth;
by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be the belt around his hips,
and faithfulness the belt around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
the calf and the young lion will feed together,
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow and the bear will graze.
Their young will lie down together,
and a lion will eat straw like an ox.
8 A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole;
toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den.
9 They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain.
The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
just as the water covers the sea.
10 On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious.
This passage contains several beautiful images of God’s peaceful Kin-dom. This is a Kin-dom turned upside down; there is nothing “logical” in these descriptions of the natural world …. And yet we know that with God all things are possible.
Do we have to wait? Or is some part of this image possible now, both with God’s guidance and with OUR help?
Whether we are thinking about the current social, religious or political climate, we can participate in the prophecy to “not judge by appearances or decide by hearsay.” All too often we look at someone or some situation and think we understand. Without conversation, without seeking information, without building trusting relationships, we cannot know what is happening or how we might improve both the life of the other and of ourselves. We will grow in compassion and responsiveness as we look beyond our own experiences to embrace the stories of the strangers in our midst. We will no longer be strangers, but the FAMILY of God.
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
Right here in our local church we encounter the same people week after week; we smile, say “hello” and then part until the following Sunday. How often do we judge by appearances or hearsay? It’s so much easier to do that than it is to build real relationships. The image of God’s Kin-dom is one that begins with the Church. How would your connection with your church family be different if you reach out, have a conversation, and build a relationship that goes beyond a smile and hello on Sunday morning?
Take a few moments to ponder the passage again. Imagine yourself amid the vision that Isaiah describes. Where do you see yourself? How does it make you feel?