Isaiah’s Messianic Vision – New Covenant Fulfillment (Isaiah 11:1-10)
Isaiah 11:1–10 – A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Isaiah’s Messiah will Fulfill the Davidic Covenant (vv 1-3) – In the previous verses the Lord brings judgment, “He shakes his fist at the mountain of the daughter Zion” and will “cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe.” Then something happens in fulfillment of God’s promise to David, “a shoot will spring” from Jesse (David’s father). God has kept his promise to put David’s heir on the throne, Messiah Jesus.
Overview – Isaiah weaves together both the judgment due to Israel and the nations as well as the promises of God’s covenant faithfulness to bring about deliverance for His people. This passage follows from an indictment in ch. 10, culminating in this image: Isaiah 10:34 – “He will hack down the thickets of the forest with an ax, and Lebanon with its majestic trees will fall.” But “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse” (11:1). This Davidic Messiah will fulfill God’s covenant promises: 1) Isaiah’s Messiah will fulfill the Mosaic Covenant (vv 4-5) – The Messiah of Isaiah will embody the very justice of the Torah [law] of Moses. What fleshly judges and corrupt kings could not do will be done by Messiah. He will see the heart and judge righteously and with “fairness” for the afflicted. His Word is the very instrument of bringing justice. He is clothed with righteousness and faithfulness. 2) Isaiah’s Messiah will fulfill the New Covenant (vv 6-10) – The rule of this Messiah will result in universal peace as predicted in many new covenant prophecies (Is. 9:7, Ez. 34:25, 37:26). Isaiah pictures this by reference to natural predators vs their prey, wolf/lamb; leopard/goat; calf/lion; cow/bear; lion/ox. These images may refer to the aggressive nations threatening lamb-like Israel. He finishes the image with children playing with snakes. Because, “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD . . .”
Insight – Many people can’t see how this prophecy will be fulfilled before the coming of Christ. But it is important to see that this glorious, yet incremental fulfillment hinges upon one point, “in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse.” As soon as nations and men come to their own desolation (stumps), and resort the budding plant, the root of Jesse, then the peace shall avail. This is to be fulfilled in the gospel victory of salvation to all the nations (as is promised in Rev. 5:7-9), when all the “families of the earth shall worship Jesus” (Ps. 22).
Child Catechism – When will we get to play with poisonous snakes and not get hurt? When all the nations turn to Christ.
Discussion – When do you think “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” and how will that happen?
Prayer – Almighty Father, you have promised peace on earth through Christ, grant that we may be faithful to express the gospel in our lives and words so that the knowledge of the LORD may be full in the earth. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.