From the Desk of The Associate: The Renewed Branch

When I was a kid, I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I loved the books and the movies so much that I would spend my days building swords and running around our property fighting imaginary orcs and dragons. I guess even now as an adult I could be somewhat of a nerd when it comes to Tolkien’s fantasy realm. For those of you who have invested any amount of time in that story you can see to what lengths he went to build out an entire world of history and languages all coming from his creative genius. As with most great stories this was an epic of good versus evil when evil often looked to triumph. It was during a particularly dark period in his story line that he has one of the characters give a prophesy about a coming king from a renewed line of kingship that would come and deliver his people and all the good people of Middle Earth. This is how it goes, “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost, the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be glad that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” This line always excited me to see that though the story was dark, there would be a coming deliverer who would set it all right. How satisfying it was to see the climax of the story where that king hacked down his enemies and delivered his people.

As tempted as I often am to lose myself even now as an adult in the fantasy realm, I now have an even greater desire to read and contemplate a different story. This story has a prophecy similar to the one given above. What is better about this story though, is that it is true. Yes, that’s right. And not only is it true but it is a story that we ourselves are actually living in. You can read the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-5, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse. And a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Now most of you can probably identify who this prophecy is talking about. For nobody embodied these characteristics more than Jesus himself. Doesn’t our current condition make us long for a return of The King? You see this prophecy spoke of the fact that the line of David was cut off, but would be renewed in Jesus. Which one of us who have to lead and make decisions in our time doesn’t desire wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the LORD? Jesus embodies them all.

Right now, our current national conversation is all about justice. Many of the problems stem from the fact that we see a ten second clip on social media of something that seems unjust. Immediately we act as if we have gathered all the facts and try to proscribe “justice” based on what we see. Jesus doesn’t do that because He perfectly sees and understands every event. Another problem is that we hear a brief summery of something that happened second hand from a friend or from the media, then we immediately form an opinion. This does not lead to true justice. Jesus can never be accused of judging this way. Jesus will never fail to enact true and lasting justice.

Lastly, Jesus does not just enact righteous and just policies, He is completely and perfectly righteous and faithful in His conduct. As God’s people longed and prayed for their Messiah King to come and redeem and save His people, so now we should long and pray for the return of our King. If our current times don’t make you long for that Savior to return, I don’t know what will.

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