I recently started learning more about how grape vines work, and it is fascinating. Grape vines are incredibly durable, able to be trimmed down to almost nothing and then grow back at an unbelievable rate. If the roots are strong, the stump will grow new buds, which will turn into shoots, becoming fruitful vines. Yet, to look at that barren stump before the growing season begins, one would think it dead, ugly, and forgotten. So often, this can be how our lives feel. We look at our circumstances, our condition, and our brokenness and it feels like nothing good can come from this. The same was true for Israel for centuries. God had warned them of the calamity that awaited if they continued in idolatry, but they did not listen. Isaiah is full of ominous prophecy, involving foreign nations being used to punish Israel. God even warned that the punishment would be so severe that God would punish the Assyrians for going too far. Yet at the darkest point, there was still a promise of hope.

Isaiah 11 tells of a shoot which will come from the seemingly barren stump of Jessi. As prophesied, the royal line of Davidic kings was brought low during the judgements against Jerusalem, as the people were dragged off into Babylonian captivity. During the 400+ years between the last prophecies of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus, there had been a brief resurgence of Israel’s kingdom, but not under a Davidic king.  The stump seemed dead and hopeless. The promises of God seemed unlikely.  And then, with the most powerful empire in the world crushing Israel under its heal, the king arrived. He did not seem like much at first, and He did not arrive as people would have expected, but the tiny bud of light from Heaven grew, and became the King of Kings, conquering the greatest foe to face humanity, and establishing the throne of David forever. God’s promises never fail, no matter how dark and hopeless things might seem.

Today, perhaps the world seems dark and hopeless. Maybe your circumstances are overwhelming, and your options seem limited. You might feel like God is far away, and unlikely to come through for you this time. I encourage you to find confidence in God’s track record. He has never been defeated, and His plans have never been thwarted. His promises have never failed. Spend some time today meditating on your favorite promises of God and find hope. God will come through, and your life will sprout with new growth as you trust in Him. It may not look the way you expect, but it will be for your good and His glory. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will do it.” (1 Thess 5:23-24)

by Ben Urban, Pastor of Student Ministries

1 Comment

Dixie Hunter - September 15th, 2023 at 6:42am

As usual, very well said.






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