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Isaiah prophesied the coming of the perfect leader. Looking back in history, we know that this leader was the Messiah, Jesus.
I suggest three ways to approach this beautiful prophecy about Jesus.
(1) Praise God for who he is.
God has not left humans to struggle on their own. He sent us his Son to give us a picture of good leadership.
God has provided the Holy Spirit to give us the desire and power to live the kind of life that is modeled by Jesus.
(2) Use these verses as a guide to pray for leaders.
As we pray for leaders in business, church, government, education, and family, these verses furnish us with language to pray for these important people in our lives.
(3) Use these verses as a guide to pray for the way we lead.
The people in our lives need us to be the best leaders we can be. We should not operate out of our self-sufficiency but depend on the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we pray for others to have these qualities, we can ask God to give us these leadership characteristics, too.
God’s Grace Extended
Sometimes it takes a “rock bottom” experience for us to receive God’s grace. In Isaiah’s time, the people of God had been devastated by war and exile.
Only a small number had survived, but God had not abandoned them. His grace was available to them at their lowest point.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. (Isaiah 11.1)
The prophets often pictured the result of bad leaders – oppression, idolatry, war, and destruction. A new leader was prophesied with ideal characteristics.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11.2)
As we pause to contemplate this verse, let’s think about Jesus.
Unlike the leaders of Isaiah’s day who acted in pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency, Jesus depended on the Father.
He characterized his life with this saying: “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
Jesus was not ready for his ministry to begin until the Holy Spirit rested upon him.
Matthew writes, “And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matthew 3.16).
Think for a moment of all of the leaders in our lives. They include the military, police, local and national government, teachers, pastors, and parents.
Each day, we have the opportunity to ask God for his Spirit to rest upon them. We can ask God that they depend on him for direction and that they exhibit the qualities mentioned in these verses.
Now, let’s pray for ourselves and ask God to do the same for us.
The next three verses continue the theme that began in verse 2. When the Holy Spirit rests on people, they will exhibit these characteristics.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins. (Isaiah 11.3-5)
Jesus perfectly fulfilled this image of leadership.
— He loved the Father with his total being (the fear of the Lord).
— He knew the motives behind the actions of others and was able to adjust his actions and words accordingly.
— He brought good news, healing, and deliverance to the poor and the vulnerable.
— His death on the cross defeated the works of the devil.
Jesus is the perfect example of this. However, we can use these verses to evaluate the leadership of others and ourselves.
We are living in an age when all leaders need to engage in this sort of behavior. Please ask God for the Spirit of God to rest on leaders and produce this kind of activity.
Let’s not leave ourselves out of this prayer. May God’s Spirit rest on us and produce in us a Jesus-kind-of-life.
The Peaceful Kingdom
With beautiful poetic language Isaiah prophesied a future kingdom of peace.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11.6-9)
Self-interest will never turn this vision into reality.
Dependence upon God and the power of the Holy Spirit is needed for humans to see this vision turn into reality.
We are currently living “between the times.”
The rule of God has “already” arrived with the coming of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The full realization of God’s kingdom has “not yet” come.
As we live in this “between the times” age, we can experience a measure of the peace that is described here, only as we depend on God and the work of his Spirit.
Our families, friendships, small group gathering, and inner selves can be a testimony to God’s peace that is yet to fully occupy the earth.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.