Summary: Christmas Series from Isaiah
Passage: Isaiah 11:1-9
Title: The Impact of A Planted Tree
Interesting Statement: Greg bought a 35-foot tall Christmas tree for his two-story 30 ft. tall house. Did he put the tree outside his house and decorate it there? No. He cut that tree into three equal parts and installed them in every floor of his house - including the roof! The bottom 10 ft. chunk had branches in the living room; the middle was squeezed into the spare bedroom and the top 15 ft. section was placed on the roof directly above the bedroom. It took Greg and 7 of his friends 2 entire days to put the tree in place. Then they decorated it with 160 big ornaments and 2000 LED lights with a star perched on top. 3 facts about Greg’s tree: It was a “Big” tree, it was a “dead” tree and (outside of being a pretty) it didn’t do anything of any value. Greg said: "From the outside it is a bit of an optical illusion because it appears to be one huge tree that has shot up through the ceilings and floorboards and out through the roof."
Introduction: In Isaiah 11, God speaks of the tree planted in Bethlehem. Isaiah previously spoke about God’s plan to “cut down” the “trees” of Assyria and Israel. Regarding Assyria, “…the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.” (Isaiah 10:33-34) Regarding Israel and Judah God declared: “So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day… Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.” (Isaiah 9:14, 18) Why? So a new tree would emerge…
#1: To Bring About Change (Isaiah 11:1-2)
• Explanation: While the symbolism of power and majesty of two nations existed, God declared He was going to take an ax and go through the forests to cut it all down because of their pride. When finished, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1) The prophecies about the coming Messiah (Jesus) start in Isaiah 7. A virgin would conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel. In Isaiah 9 God tells us Emmanuel would minister in Galilee. He would be a great ruler and leader of His people, a light to those walking in the shadow of death. Now in Isaiah 11 we are told the Messiah would be like a great tree growing out of the stump of Jesse having more influence than anyone has ever had or ever will.
• Illustration: The Jews would have noticed the imagery of trees (mostly olive) as they were an important and valuable tree for people in that region that “bore fruit”. Olives were a source of food, medicine and a base for the anointing oil used in anointing their kings, priests and prophets. Spiritually the oil of that tree represented peace, faithfulness, endurance and new life. The tree symbolized new life was because it was virtually indestructible as they could grow in almost any soil, flourish in great heat, with little water. Most Olive trees can live up to 500-1000 years with new sprouts and trees emerging from the stump roots, even if the trees are cut down. Even if a the grove catches on fire, a good Olive Tree Grower can graft an olive shoot into the stump of that tree and grow a new tree in its place.