Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah 11:1-10

All Scripture prepares for Christ’s person and work through dead ends and bridges.

Ahaz had been king and a terrible king at that. His policies and actions had driven the people of the Lord farther from the Lord and left the people spiritually bankrupt.

The people had wanted to be led like the nations around them and boy did they get it.

Rather than the Lord being their king they wanted a man to rule them.

Most of the kings end up as dead ends. They show promise and hope and end up disappointing and leaving the people wondering who will save them.

Enter the Gospel: The grace of God to come to them and save by grace through faith.

It’s no different today. We look to men to lead us and they ultimately disappoint. The reason is that human leadership falls short, but especially human leadership that is depended on instead of the Lord.

There are those who believe matter is all there is and we are our own saviors and our times are in our own hands. Therefore the political landscape is their idol.

There are those who acknowledge a God, but he has left us to figure it out and perhaps he may help out at times, but by and large he is absent from our struggles. As a consequence the political landscape is their idol but it’s covered up with a thin veneer of spiritual language that gives the appearance of “godliness”.

There are those who believe God rules providentially all nations and times and he does so through the means of ordained governmental leadership, but it’s easy to put our trust in men rather than God. This is probably me and most of us in this room.

We are, when disappointed, left longing to be ruled well.

We don’t abandon government; it’s God’s appointed means of keeping order. We get involved and we stay involved, but we don’t hope in government. We hope in Jesus, the King, who rules now and will one day rule visibly.

The day is coming when we will be ruled well.

Christmas, the celebration of Immanuel, God with us, entering time and space as the God/Man, is the opportunity to look ahead to the promise that the first coming was only 1 of 2. The King has come in weakness to justify sinners. The King is coming again to rule all nations and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, as Isaiah prophesied (9:7).

May that day come quickly!

Isaiah 11:1-10 is a looking forward to this day!

1. The Lord will reign over the nations 11:1, 10 (Habakkuk 2:14)

A. 11:1 is a contrast to the Lord’s destruction of the Assyrian king likened to

felling a vast forest (10:33-34).

1. This passage is quoted in Romans 15:12

2. The Lord will reign with unlimited power 11:2

A. The Lord’s reign will be characterized by the work of the Spirit

1. Wisdom and understanding

These two characteristics are contrasted “by relating wisdom to handling problems of daily living, while understanding is the ability “to see beyond the details of a particular situation, make an appropriate assessment, and come to conclusions about necessary decisions.” This new ruler will not make the foolish mistakes of Ahaz who acted based on what made sense from a shortsighted, human, political perspective.”[1]

In other words, the Lord’s reign will not be like foolish human kings who do not exercise wisdom and understanding.

2. Counsel and might

The Lord “…will give counsel (“wonderful counsel” in 9:6), devise amazing plans, and have the power to carry them out. This equipping does not relate to military planning alone (cf. 36:5), but would certainly include it (see 11:14–16). His action stands in contrast to Ahaz (2 Chr 28; Isa 7:1–13) and the Assyrian king (10:5–14), who made arrogant and unwise plans with the main purpose of surviving militarily rather than honoring God by trusting in his power (cf. 7:1–25).”[2]

3. Knowledge and the fear of the Lord

The Lord set all knowledge right through the place one must begin the quest for knowledge and that is in the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Jesus will teach and we will know rightly without the cloud of misunderstanding because we will begin with a fear of the Lord.

There will be the awesome, trembling, reverential, confidence and joyous attraction to the Lord himself and there all knowledge becomes clear and pure and crescendos in worship.

3. The Lord will reign in perfect justice 11:3-5

4. The Lord will reign in universal peace for all of creation 11:6-9



E. Ray Clendenen, New American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39 (B & H Publishing Group, 2007), 271-72.

E. Ray Clendenen, New American Commentary: Isaiah 1-39 (B & H Publishing Group, 2007), 272.


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