October 23, 2016

Harvest From a Stump

Isaiah 11:1-9

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

—  Isaiah 11:1

I talked with a man whose life could be described as a stump; the tree of his life had been cut down—by his own hand. He had squandered everything he had been given—possessions, family, relationships. Looking at his life ahead, all he could see was years behind bars.

Stumps don’t typically make us think of a rich harvest. But God has a way of bringing new life to dead things. Israel’s time had come to an end, it seemed. The people had squandered everything God had so generously given them. As a nation, they faced exile and destruction. But God still had something in store for them: from a stump, fruit would still come.

Isaiah’s prophecy looked ahead to the coming of God’s promised Savior, Jesus Christ. Although the royal line descending from David, the son of Jesse, had been cut back, we are reminded that life is ultimately rooted in God. The faithful God would bring his people righteousness and justice, even if their stump seemed dead.

The result of Jesus’ faithful life and saving death is peace for God’s people—transforming our driest and deadest landscapes into places of growth and hope. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has brought forth fruit from what seemed a dry stump. And he will do the same for all who trust in Christ.

Do you trust in him?

Faithful God, thank you for your miraculous work. Where our lives are dry and dead, fill us with the knowledge of your love so that we can bear fruit in Christ. Amen.v

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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