The Servant Of God - Isaiah 11 — A Christian Growth Message - Hope 103.2

The Servant Of God – Isaiah 11 — A Christian Growth Message

Simon Manchester of Hope 103.2's Christian Growth podcast and pastor at All Saints in Woollahra, Sydney - presents a series on the promises of Jesus' birth.

By Simon ManchesterSunday 24 Dec 2023Christian Growth with Simon ManchesterFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Heavenly Father, as we think for a few minutes about the scriptures which you’ve given to us, we pray that you would be our helper and that we might see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly. We ask it in Jesus name. Amen.

Some time ago, I read a story which I gather is a true story. It’s not a joke. It’s a true story that um outside the zoo in Bristol, there is a parking lot and the parking lot is for cars and buses. And a very nice man collected the fees for the cars and the buses, $2 for a car and $7 for a bus for 25 years. And uh one day he didn’t show up. And so the zoo contacted the council and said to him, you need to send a new collector and the council wrote back to the zoo and said that parking lot is your business. It’s got nothing to do with us.

In other words, the council basically said we have not employed anybody to collect fees. And the zoo was saying we have not employed anybody to collect fees, but uh this man had turned up with his own homemade booth and collected about $600 a day for 25 years, which amounts to about $5.5 million. And is probably as we sit here in a villa somewhere in France, Italy or Spain.

My question to you is, is he clever or is he corrupt? And the answer is probably yes. Uh Who’s going to deal with this? Who’s gonna bring this man to justice uh multiply this by 50 billion. And you’ve got the problems in the world that need sorting out.

And um today is our third and final. Look at a Christmas prediction uh taken from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah who served God in the eighth century BC. And the text today is a very wonderful promise from God that somebody is going to come, who will finally fix the world. Look if this sounds like a pipe dream to you, let me assure you that we have already seen somebody come into the world and given a preview of fixing the world. And that person of course, is Jesus in the pages of the New Testament.

I really value this passage this morning, Isaiah chapter 11 because the longer you live in the world, the more you realize that human leadership is necessary but inadequate, the longer you live, the more you see that, don’t you, you keep pinning your hopes on the next leader. And then after a while you get rid of the leader and then you pin your hopes on the next leader and then you get rid of the leader.

I’ve been reading the biography of a very brilliant man called Malcolm Muri, who was a writer in the 20th century and lived in Cambridge and then uh in uh India, then Egypt and then Moscow and he wrote for many of the British newspapers and he was converted to Christ quite late in his life. And the biographer says this as Mari came to faith in Christ, the Kingdoms of the Earth were seen to be failures. And he turned his attention to that kingdom which is not of this world. And that’s what Isaiah chapter 11 does our first reading today. It turns our attention to the kingdom that’s not of this world.

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I also value Isaiah chapter 11. Because if you keep putting your confidence in people or institutions or powers, you will get very disappointed. You’ll keep putting your feet onto sand and you’ll keep longing for rock to change the illustration. Uh The great preacher Spurgeon reflected once on that moment where Noah released a dove from the ark. Some of you will remember this, Noah released a dove from the ark uh to go and see if there was any land. And the dove flew around for quite a long time and found nowhere to land.

And then of course, eventually came back, probably exhausted to the ark. And Spurgeon says in his comment, you will never find rest in this world for your soul. It’s only when you come to the Ark who is Christ, you’ll find rest in a rock for your soul.

So this prediction in Isaiah chapter 11 is very important. We’re not dealing with a fairy tale. We’re dealing with something, a solution from God for the needs of the world without the person who is Christ, the world has no answers.

And although there have been some very good leaders, human leaders, and although there have been some very good chapters of history, nobody has been up to the task of fixing the world and uh no one is able to do what Christ is able to do. We’ll see that as we look at this together. So we, we’re in Isaiah chapter 11. If you want to turn back in your Bibles, it’s on page 1035. And um when Isaiah wrote these words in Isaiah chapter 11, he had a very challenging job to do. He had to persuade God’s people that God was actually going to reduce them, we might say to decimate them.

So it says in chapter 10, verse 22 though, you’re like the sand on the beach, there’ll just be some survivors or chapter 10 verse 33 the Lord will bring down the lofty trees. In other words, I’m gonna bring down the proud and the disobedient and he did, why did he do this well, because his people were disobedient.

But then Isaiah could tell the people that after that God would eventually restore and revive His people. And that’s what we pick up in chapter 11. Verse one, a shoot will come up from the stump who will bear fruit, a righteous leader and a savior. Why would God do that sheer grace on behalf of God? So two points this morning very briefly if you happen to write anything down. The first is the answer is a person. The answer to the world is a person and second, the person has the answers. So first of all, the answer to the world is a person. Isaiah chapter 11 verses 1 to 3, we read in verse one that the people of God would be reduced to a stump,

they would be removed from the promised land, they would be reduced before they were eventually restored. But we also read in chapter 11 verse one, God would raise up somebody from the stump from the line of David who would be uh a shoot a branch.

We know of course, this wasn’t king David. King. David was long dead when Isaiah was writing this. But obviously a new king would emerge from the royal line. We know this is a person because we see in verse two, the spirit of the Lord will rest on him, on this person and remain on him. And of course, the new king would be Jesus, born in the hometown of David Bethlehem called referred to repeatedly in the New Testament as the son of David.

And actually in the last book of the Bible, he calls himself the root and the offspring of David revelation chapter 22. So does the Holy Spirit rest on Jesus? Yes, he does. We know from his baptism as we had in our second reading, the spirit came and rested on Jesus and never left him. Is Jesus just another passing leader. Therefore, no, every king and prophet before him and after him has been flawed and sinful but not Jesus Christ. Now, verse two, if you’re looking at the text tells us something about this king and it gives us some words to describe the king, some couplets to show that he is supremely qualified.

The first in verse two is that this king, this King Jesus is going to have wisdom and understanding. In other words, he’s gonna have the ability to think properly. Now I mentioned before the crazy situation of a man who runs a parking station that is basically illegal. But now think about the headlines that come on the news or the newspaper of situations which are just so difficult to work out.

And think about the government decisions that have got to be made about uh renewables and think about the local government decisions that have got to be made. And there’s so many warring factions or think about the situations at this Christmas where families are gonna get together and it’s just impossible to sort out the sadnesses and the problems in those families who is going to be able to think the right way forward.

And of course, in many cases, the answer is nobody. But we get a preview of the genius of Jesus in the New Testament. Every issue that is brought to Jesus, he immediately and somewhat easily solves. Sometimes people come to Jesus in the New Testament with an attack on him and he leaves them speechless.

Sometimes people come to Jesus with a very difficult question and he has extraordinary insight. Sometimes people come to Jesus in great distress, they don’t know what to do. And he gives them the exact perfect reply, the wisdom, the second quality that you’ll see in verse two in this king is that he will have might. In other words, he’ll have the ability to do something. This King Jesus, he’s not going to only have the ability to see what needs to be done, but he has the ability, the might to do it. Contrast the leaders of the world who often can see the way forward but just don’t have the resources or the influence to do it.

And so think about Jesus in the New Testament. Can Jesus see the corruption that was taking place in the temple? Yes. Could he do anything? Yes, he could. Can Jesus see the damage that’s done by sickness in the world. Can he do anything? Yes, he could.

When Jesus saw a dead person, did he have the ability to do anything? Yes, he did. When Jesus saw the sin in the world and the separation between us and God did Jesus have the ability to do anything. Yes, he did. He died and rose. So he has not only the ability to see what has to be done, but he also has the might and the power to do it.

And the third quality in verse two is that he has knowledge of the Lord for fear of the Lord, the ability to be the person fit for the office. There’s nobody like who knows God like Jesus. He himself said, nobody knows the father properly except the son. In other words, he’s in a league of his own. When it comes to knowing God being God, does anybody fear the Lord like Jesus in the true sense of the word of respecting God revering God trusting God, obeying God. There’s nobody like Jesus.

It is amusing, I think and wonderful that when God is going to do something in the world, he bypasses the leadership. Dale Ralph Davis in one of his books points out something very interesting in the New Testament Christmas accounts. And uh Dale Ralph Davis says this borders on the hilarious, for example, in Luke chapter three, Luke tells us that in the time of Caesar, very important person, pilot was the governor quite an important person.

Herod was the junior governor, reasonably important person, Anderson Caiafa with the high priests. And then Luke tells us that the word of God bypassed all of them and went to John in the wilderness. John, the Baptist. You can almost see the word of God pushing the leadership of the world aside and saying I don’t need you.

I’m going to John the Baptist to give him the message to announce the Savior Dale Ralph Davis puts it like this. Luke pulls up the movers and shakers of the times who dominate the headlines and get the interviews and they’re a mere prelude to the main and most significant event that the word of God came to John and Isaiah you see is also announcing somebody who’s going to outperform and outlast all the leadership of the world.

This is a person on whom the spirit of God will rest and this person is gonna have the ability to think and do and be the solution to the world. Yes, he is. And that person is Jesus, historical, human, divine and supreme. The answer to the world is a person that’s the person you need to put your feet on, so to speak, the rock on which you need to stand.

Now, the second thing this morning is that the person has the answers and we see this in verses 3 to 10. I want you to notice how Isaiah describes Jesus as Jesus sits on the magisterial bench. Verse three, he will not judge by his eyes or his ears.

In other words, he won’t be swayed, he won’t be deceived, he won’t be manipulated. But his decision verse four will be righteous, no mistakes, no injustice. The person who deserves help will receive it. Remember Solomon King, Solomon who was given a great gift of wisdom and power and was once presented with those two women, both claiming the baby to be theirs.

It was a very emotional and difficult situation and Solomon with incredible wisdom just solved the case in a second. You can read about it in one Kings chapter three. Now Jesus announces that he is a greater person than Solomon. Now, the flip side to this justice where the media are provided for is the justice verse four that punishes the guilty.

We read in verse four that Jesus will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, with the breath of his lips. He will slay the wicket. You may think to yourself. Well, that’s a good person. That’s a good thing that he’ll do that because I’m not wicked. It’s good that he’ll bring the guilty to justice. But friends, I want to remind you that I and you are guilty before God.

The Bible says the soul that sins will die. Therefore, I will die and you will die. The Bible also says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Therefore, I have fallen short and you have fallen short and therefore you will die and be separated from God. Unless you have a savior, unless you’ve put your sins and yourself into the hands of Christ hands, which you will discover are nail pierced hands because he is keen to save and deliver.

During the week, I took a friend’s funeral. Uh A very brilliant QC, a lady who never failed to push very hard. Her questions on the Christian life. And I remember one day she came to my office and she asked a series of questions and when she’d finished her questions, I asked her that most famous question. What will you do the day you stand before the judge of all the earth, the king of kings, the savior of the world. What will you do when you stand before him? And if he were to say to you, why should I welcome you into heaven? What will you say?

And she immediately spontaneously said, well, because I’ve been a good person and then she stopped and she said in a loud voice, no, that’s not right. That’s not right. It’s because he died for me. It’s because he died for me. And she burst into tears. And suddenly she had put her finger on the very issue of the gospel. Christ came to save sinners.

And the person who’s described here in Isaiah chapter 11 is going to decide, well, because he’s the perfect judge, he’s going to destroy well, and he’s also going to deliver well, because this Jesus lived well died well.

And Rosewell now, as we close this morning, I just want to say that we must understand something very important about these verses in Isaiah chapter 11 because Isaiah is focusing on the two comings of Jesus, not just the first coming at Christmas, but the second coming, the first coming of the messiah is where Jesus would show up and show himself to be the one who can think and do and be exactly what the world needs.

And Jesus did that. He absolutely did that. But the second coming of Jesus is where he will come to perfect things and finish what he’s begun. And we see this beautifully pictured in the last verses of our reading this morning in verses 6 to 9 where we read that the dangers and the tensions will one day completely disappear.

And it’s described in these beautiful little twosomes of the wolf and the lamb happy together and the leopard and the goat and the calf, and the lion and the cow and the bear and the child and the snake all at peace. Harmonious. It’s a beautiful portrait of what Jesus will one day perfect. And the summary in verse nine is that there’ll be no harm or destruction because the one who has reversed the fall, you know, when Adam and Eve sinned and the fall began and Jesus came and the reversal began and Jesus will res reverse and restore everything back to back to Eden. And all God’s people will know Him intimately as we re re read in verse nine, the the earth will be filled with the knowledge, the face to face, knowledge of God.

And there’ll be no tension and no fear and no distress and there’ll be no death and no disease. I remind you of. Therefore, of those words of the writer of the biography of Mug. Mug turned his attention to the Kingdom, which is not of this world, the one that will last. And Jesus himself who said when he came the first time, the kingdom is right in front of you, turn around and enter and belong and belong forever. Because one day this king, this very great king who has already shown himself to be the complete master of the world will perfect it and all his people will be present with him.

He’s in a way, proved this and he certainly promised it. And that I think at Christmas is a very great thing to remember. That’s why we’re meeting and looking at these Christmas predictions, somebody has come and will come, who will make things right?

Let’s pray. Let’s thank Him. Let’s bow our heads.

We thank you our great and gracious God. We thank you for these very wonderful promises, promises which we saw come true in the person of Christ and how the holy spirit rested on him and he showed himself to be the one who’s the master and the savior.

And we thank you for this long term promise of fixing everything one day finally and perfectly, we pray that you would help us in this time that we have to belong to him and to belong to him forever. We thank you for the way in which he opened the door into your kingdom by dying on the cross. We pray that you would give us wisdom and grace, courage and all we need to enter in and to live as his people in this world. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.