The Branch From Jesse
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD –
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
Passion & Compassion
Yet again, we return to references and prophecies of the ministry of Christ. This is a very descriptive passage, full of adjectives that describe the character of Jesus. If we group them together, this is what we find:
– That he has wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge.
– That he has righteous power, striking the earth and slaying the wicked
– That he is just, (compassionately) judging the needy and poor.
Now, these characteristics, especially the last two, may seem in some ways difficult to reconcile with one another – how can he be just and compassionate? How can he be powerful and judgemental, and yet understanding? And since we don’t know how to reconcile these characteristics of Christ, we pick and choose: God must be powerful…but not compassionate. Or, God must be compassionate, but not righteous.
The fact of the matter is that he is both.
We may have a hard time balancing these two types of traits, but God does not. He is fully compassionate, but still is a holy, holy, holy God. And despite this divine holiness, he has understanding, and looks towards the poor and needy. Don’t let people, especially the political, force a one-dimensional description of God upon you, as if he cares about sexual sin, but not for the poor, or vice versa. They do this to fit their pre-existing agendas. The fact is that He cares about both.
1. Which characterization of God do you tend to have, that he is RIGHTEOUS, or that he is COMPASSIONATE? Why do you think you tend to believe one rather than the other?
2. What is the danger of seeing God in this one way?
3. What do you think this righteous compassion looks like? How would you describe it?