05/25/T – Hope and Refuge

Isaiah 10:24-11:16; 2 Corinthians 12:16-21; Psalms 57:1-3; Proverbs 15:33

OT: “Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight will be in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, he will not execute justice by what he hears with his ears, but he will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land. He will strike the land with a scepter from his mouth, and he will kill the wicked with a command from his lips. Righteousness will be a belt around his hips; faithfulness will be a belt around his waist… On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭11:1-5, 10‬ ‭CSB)

After prophesying that Assyria would be God’s tool of discipline, Isaiah went on to prophecy that God would then judge Assyria for their godlessness and arrogance. Isaiah described Assyria as a strong and formidable tree standing before the temple of God and shaking its fist – but God would chop off its branches, cut down the tree and clear-cut its forest. The great empire of Assyria would be no more.

Then out of the stump of Jessie – a tree long since believed to be dead – a shoot would grow that would form a branch and bear fruit. The promise that God made to King David was still alive. Though it seemed like the possibility for the promised Messiah was dead, the redemptive and life-giving plans of God cannot be stopped. The promised Messiah, descendant of David and Root of Jesse would then be lifted up as a banner, calling all peoples from every nation to Himself and to the Lord God.

As it is with many Biblical prophecies, this prophecy from Isaiah had an initial fulfillment and an ultimate fulfillment. The initial fulfillment occurred in the first coming of Christ. The ultimate fulfillment has not yet happened yet – but will happed when Christ comes again. Just like it seemed like the promise of the Messiah was dead, we can think – because of the time that has passed – that the promise of the Lord’s return is dead. But the promise is still alive, and in due time, fulfillment will come. That is the sure hope of all who are in Christ by faith.

Psalms: “Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, for I take refuge in you. I will seek refuge in the shadow of your wings until danger passes. I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He reaches down from heaven and saves me, challenging the one who tramples me. Selah God sends his faithful love and truth.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭57:1-3‬ ‭CSB)

This psalm was written by David during a time when he had to hide out in a cave as he was fleeing King Saul. David was a skilled warrior and courageous man who was not afraid to fight. However, at this moment in his life he had to humble himself and hide in a cave. He wasn’t hiding out of fear. He was hiding out of wisdom. The time would come when the Lord would bring David victory, but that time was not now.

Though David had physically retreated into a cave, his true refuge was in the Lord. God had given David a promise –  that he would be king over Israel… but there he was fleeing for his life and hiding in a cave. The optics of the situation didn’t seem very kingly – but that didn’t bother David. He took refuge in the Lord and knew that when the time was right, God would fulfill His purposes for David.

When we come into the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we enter an age-long war against the kingdom of darkness. In this war, there will be times to stand up and fight, and there will be times to step back, rest and regather. Through all of those times, we have a refuge of peace and confidence in Christ, as we place our faith on Him, take on His yoke to walk with Him, and abide in Him at all times. As we remain in Him, His purposes for our lives will be fulfilled.

Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is what wisdom teaches, and humility comes before honor.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:33‬ ‭CSB)

Humility and the fear of the Lord. That is the opposite of the world’s way. The world says to get ahead, you fear no one and portray strength in every situation. The way of the Lord is to fear Him and walk in humility under Him. By doing that, you will receive His wisdom and His honor. The defiant and arrogant will eventually get cut down, while those who fear the Lord and walk in humility before Him will be blessed.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that as I hope in and take refuge in You, even the most discouraging things don’t have to be discouraging. You are faithful to Your promises and You will fulfill Your purposes for me as I abide by faith in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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