This is a new book out just today by Jason Abbott and Benjamin Vrbicek. I got to read a pre-pub version and offer an endorsement.
LEFC Family Advent Readings: “A Shoot from the Stump of Jesse”
Isaiah 11 :: November 27, 2016
Week #1: Persistent Promise
“Advent” means “coming.” Christmas is coming. Jesus has come and is coming again.
During this year’s Advent season, we will be reflecting together on the ancient promise of the Messiah revealed in the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 11. Isaiah predicts:
[READ ISAIAH 11:1 AND LIGHT FIRST CANDLE.]
Our first candle is a candle of persistent promise.
Isaiah’s prophecy anticipates a time when all of the kings of Israel have been cut down to size. As kings, they were all disappointing and never lived up to their potential.
These kings failed. They did not lead the nation into covenant faithfulness, and their people suffered for it. David’s royal dynasty had declined until it was almost as good as dead.
But in this bleak time, God was still at work. He was still keeping His promises to His people.
Isaiah says that the Lord will startle everyone and bring a glorious new ruler out of the family line of Jesse. Though every son of David so far has been a sad disappointment, God’s promise remains persistent.
The Lord will bring a powerful king out of humble origins. A tiny shoot will poke up from the stump of Jesse and then grow into a mighty tree. From modest roots, a magnificent Branch will one day bear flourishing fruit.
Sometimes it seems as though God’s promises will never come to pass. May this candle remind us that God always keeps His promises, often in surprising ways which we would never have anticipated.
His promises are persistent, and so should be our faith.
[T]he greatness of God in large measure consists in the fact that he is ‘faithful in little’. We make a mistake when we confuse God’s greatness with ‘bigness’ or when we associate his greatness only with bigness. Then we begin to carve out for ourselves a graven image of the living God which shapes him in our image: his is so busy, so preoccupied and distracted, pressured under time constraints. This CEO-type God can have no time for Joe or Jane Peon. Ah, but that is not our God. Part of his greatness appears in the fact that he does attend to the small problems, the dinky details, the individual needs, the mundane and ordinary affairs of the believer’s life. The hairs on your head are numbered; God does care about your axe-head (The Power and the Fury, pg. 104).God cares about your big deal right now, no matter how small it really is.