December 19, 2011

Real life examples from the Bible

Yesterday, God brought to my attention the fact that sometimes the Bible speaks simultaneously in terms of poetical imagery and down to earth facts of life.    While walking the dog yesterday, this tree caught my eye and I had to take a picture.  It isn't a very good picture, so I am going to describe it.  A lemon tree died and for some reason, the people living there decided to leave the stump.  From that stump, a branch sprouted and from that branch leaves and fruit have blossomed.  The passage I remembered from seeing it is Isaiah 11:1-5.  I am going to copy both the NIV version for its poetry and The Message translation for its down-to-earth practicality.

NIV (1984)
   A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; 
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 
   The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 
   the Spirit of counsel and of power, 
   the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

   He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
   but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
 with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
   He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
    Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The Message:
A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse's stump, from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.  Fear-of-God will be all his joy and delight.  He won't judge by appearances, won't decide on the basis of hearsay.  He'll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth's poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.  Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

Of course, this passage really is talking about Jesus, about his lineage, coming from the line of David, son of Jesse and about his character and his work.  But isn't it a comforting thought that God takes something dead (or is it only mostly dead?), whether a tree or some part of our heart and causes it to bear fruit?  And isn't it wonderful of Him to give us concrete reminders of His power and His love?

Happy Advent!  Six more days until Christmas

1 comment:

Jennifer Dougan said...

What a vivid photo and image! What hope, huh?
I have been enjoying Isaiah for a while too.

Merry Christmas!

Jennifer Dougan