Thursday, July 26, 2007

What can you do with a stump?

There it sat. Just a stump. The tree is gone. The stump is barren, ugly, a reminder of better times when the healthy tree grew there. But it is gone and the stump remains. That is what Isaiah saw when he looked at Israel in exile under the discipline of God's hand. He cried out to God "Lord, how long?"[Isaiah 6:11] In other words, Isaiah wanted to know how long God would allow Israel to languish in a foreign land away from home. Israel was there because she deserved to be. She had rebelled royally against her God. And she was paying for it. We have all been there. God's answer to Isaiah's question is specific: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaaken places are many in the middle of the land [Isaiah 6:11b-12]. Kind of depressing, isn't it. But read on...God is not finished speaking: "BUT yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down, SO THE HOLY SEED SHALL BE ITS STUMP." [Isaiah 6:13]. That stump is going to grow back...called the holy seed. This has to be a reference to their Messiah who is coming. It is in Christ hope is restored for the ugly, barren stump. Only Christ can take what once was and restore it to what can be. This chapter in Isaiah began with a vision of Christ in the temple, totally in control when Israel's national life was in total chaos. And the chapter ends with Christ not only in control, but rescuing those caught up in the chaos of their own making. That is what Christ does. He forgives sin! He restores "trees." Think about it!

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