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. (Isa 11:1-5. MSG)
Lent is a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, remembering that Easter is not just a reflection on the death of Christ but his resurrection.
The book of Hebrews, speaking of Abraham, tells us, “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb 11:8-10 NKJ) That city, along with the Kingdom of God had been the expectation and dream of generations. Years of idolatry, disobedience, and rebellion against God had led to the prospect of exile. The dream was a vague memory, that is until Isaiah once again brings the hope of a peaceable kingdom. Tree cut down and yet out of the stump hope comes forth. As we start on this journey of Lent, let us put aside the noise and distractions and look beyond to the hope that lies ahead.