BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root” (Isaiah 11:1 NLT).
A stump is “the base of a tree trunk and its roots after the tree has fallen or been cut down.” A shoot, on the other hand, is “the newly grown aerial part of a plant.”
Isaiah 11:1 is the anchor scripture for this special Christmas message; and the scripture was a prophetic word concerning the coming of the Messiah. It was a reference to Jesus who would come from the tribe of Judah, and in the lineage of David. He would be a new ‘David’ out of the old David! But he would be an unrivaled David, a greater ‘David’! In contrast, Isaiah 10:33-34 says Assyria shall be like a tree cut down by the Lord, and there is no mention of a new shoot growing out of her stump because she would never rise again.
A root out of dry ground
Isaiah 53:1-2 says, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground” (NKJV). A root out of a dry ground! That talks of the root growing in spite of its hostile, negative environment. The Bible says of Jesus, “Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted” (John 1:11 NLT).
At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy about a shoot growing out of David’s stump, Israel and Judah were living in sin. God’s warnings always precede God’s judgment. In the first 39 chapters of his book, Prophet Isaiah called his people to repentance and brought judgmental message to Israel, Judah and the pagan nations around them, which they ignored. His ministry lasted sixty years, and, according to tradition, he was executed during Manasseh’s reign because he became unpopular with his message. In contrast, Isaiah, in the remaining 27 chapters of his book, brought a message of forgiveness, and hope; emphasizing the coming of the Messiah – the shoot that would grow out of David’s stump.
The Book of Matthew was written to the Jews to proof that Jesus was the king and Messiah that Isaiah had prophesied about in Isaiah 11:1-5. Matthew starts by tracing the genealogy of Jesus to Abraham and directly to David. Matthew 1:15-16 says, “Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (NKJV).
At this time, David was long dead! The Jews were under Roman rule – they had lost their independence because of their sin of idolatry. Twenty-eight generations had passed since David’s time but Isaiah’s prophecy could not be invalidated or nullified by time – a shoot must come out of the stump. “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17NKJV).
Until Jesus’ birth, Israel remained just a stump without a shoot but there was hope for her! Isaiah 6:13 says, “Even if only a tenth — a remnant — survive, it will be invaded again and burned. Israel will remain a stump, like a tree that is cut down, but the stump will be a holy seed that will grow again” (NLT). That means God’s judgment on Israel was not final; her situation was still redeemable because of God’s promise to David to make his dynasty and his kingdom continue forever (2 Samuel 7:11-16). David’s throne is secured forever through Jesus Christ – the shoot from David’s stump, the Son of David (Matthew 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30-31, 21:9, 15, 22:42; Mark 10:47-48, 12:35; Luke 18:38-39).
A shoot come out of Nebuchadnezzar’s stump
A shoot out of a stump! Let’s look at the book of Daniel with reference to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 4:13-15 says, “Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven. The messenger shouted, ‘Cut down the tree; lop off its branches! Shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit! Chase the animals from its shade and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass…” (NLT).
In this passage, Nebuchadnezzar was sharing his dream with Daniel and seeking an interpretation. Why did God say, “But leave the stump and the roots in the ground”? Because God’s judgment on Nebuchadnezzar was not final. God would only punish him for seven seasons for his pride, and after then restore him. His tree would be cut down but the stump and roots would not be uprooted and burnt. He will receive his kingdom back (verse 26).
Twelve months later, the dream was fulfilled. The judgment of God came because Nebuchadnezzar remained proud. He would live in the fields with the wild animals, and eat grass like a cow until seven periods of time had passed and he had learnt that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses (Dan 4:29-33). But that wasn’t the end of Nebuchadnezzar because although God cut down his tree, He allowed the stump and the roots to remain in the ground. When he was disrobed of his pride and sanity returned to him, he repented; he praised and worshipped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever (Dan 4:34-37).
There’s hope for you
May be your tree has been cut down too. It doesn’t matter what has happened to your tree; it makes no difference who cut down your tree and what state you’re in life now – as long as your stump and roots are still in the ground, there is hope for you. Don’t give up – a shoot shall come out of your stump.
Even if it is sin that cut down your tree, your case is not irredeemable. All you need is to genuinely repent like Nebuchadnezzar did. Confess your sins to God and forsake them. God is merciful; He will abundantly pardon. “Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7 NLT). If following the repentance of Manasseh, the most wicked king of Judah, God could restore him to his throne from Babylon where he had been taken captive (2 Chronicles 33:11-13), your case is not hopeless. Manasseh’s tree was cut down but its stump grew again because its root somehow found its way to God. All God requires from you is to repent and forsake your sins. The God who made the restoration of His exiles to Jerusalem look like a dream, will restore you and fill you with laughter; you’ll sing for joy and people will rejoice with you for what the LORD has done for you (Psalm 126:1-2).
Your dead stump shall bring forth branches
It is even possible that your stump is already dead and you’ve lost hope of any change in your condition. But there is hope for even a tree with a dead stump in the ground. Job 14:8-9 says, “Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant” (NKJV). The NLT renders it thus: “Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it may bud and sprout again like a new seedling.”
Job, in his pessimism, was comparing the life of a tree and that of human being and felt that there was more hope for a tree to live again than for a human being after death. He says in Job 14:10-12, “But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last and where is he? As water disappears from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dries up, So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep” (NKJV). But in verse 14, he expresses hope: “If mortals die, can they live again? This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release” (NLT). Here, Job was hoping for resurrection after death though he wasn’t sure about the possibility. That was in the Old Testament; Jesus had not come, died and resurrected. We are better than Job because we know that there is resurrection. Jesus said, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19 NKJV). He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25 NKJV).
I don’t know in what condition you are this Christmas season but it is not yet time for you to die. No matter the sickness, the pain, emancipation of your body, etc. in the name of Jesus, the name above every other name, you shall not die before your time but you shall live and declare the works of God (Psalm 118:17). Premature death is not your portion. With long life will God satisfy you, and He will show you His salvation (Psalm 91:16). The Lord shall give you long, full life (Ex 23:26). “He wanted a good life; you gave it to him, and then made it a long life as a bonus” Psalm 21:4 TM). That shall be your testimony. The Great Healer shall touch you, the One whom stripes were laid on his body for your healing, shall make you whole again. A shoot shall come out of your stump!
Death should not become attractive to you as a way to escape from life’s troubles. God can still change any man’s situation as long as he is alive. He can do a new thing in your life (Isaiah 43:19). He can put a new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:3). He can give you a new name (Isaiah 62:2). Your tree may have been cut but as long as your stump is still in the ground, there is hope for you. God can give you another chance like He gave Nebuchadnezzar; and like He gave that wicked king, Manasseh. Notwithstanding your present condition, your end can be better than your beginning. “And though you started with little, you will end with much” (Job 8:7NLT). Indeed, your latter house can be more glorious than the former (Haggai 2:9).
The Tabernacle of David might have been damaged and in ruins, it shall be rebuilt. “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David , which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11 NKJV). This season, whatever good thing has fallen down in your life, the Lord shall rebuild. A shoot shall come out of your stump!
The enemy might have shaved Samson’s hair thinking that was his end but they were mistaking that Samson’s hair was the source of his power. No. God was the source of his power; the hair was just the channel. Samson’s hair grew again. God’s power flowed through him once more and he killed more enemies at his death than when he was alive. May be you have also slept on the lap of Delilah, and the enemy shaved your hair – you lost your marriage, your ministry, your business, your career; you lost your dignity, etc. What has the enemy shaved – cut off, trim, stolen? By the power in the name of Jesus, your hair shall grow again. There shall be total restoration for you. A shoot shall come out of your stump!
Your condition can even be that you’re operating in a hostile, unconducive, unfavourable spiritual, economic, political environment, and you’re thinking you can’t make it. Don’t forget the prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 53:1-2: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground” (NKJV). It is not easy for the root of a tree to grow out of a dry ground but that was what Jesus was compared to; and he did grow like a tender plant. Jesus did his ministry in the midst of hostility of the religious leaders and was eventually crucified but he didn’t die until he had fulfilled his ministry on the earth including death on the cross. I declare again that you shall not die before your time.
In the midst of unfavourable, hostile climate, you shall make it. Have faith in God. Isaac’s economic climate was unfavourable – there was a famine in the land – but he planted in that land, and that same year he prospered and he continued to prosper until he became very prosperous and had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants to the point that the Philistines envied him (Gen 26:12-14). Because the Lord has blessed you, you too shall succeed in the name of Jesus as you do the needful. Your marriage, your children, your business, your ministry, etc. shall succeed. You shall not become a victim of your environment; you shall not be a casualty of your location. The Lord shall cause everything to begin to favour you. He shall overturn and overturn everything until it favours you! A tree shall come out of your stump!
Hope in the Lord. Don’t be pessimistic. Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is unfailing love and an overflowing supply of salvation” (NLT). David says in Psalm 131:3, “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD — now and always” (NLT). Make sure your root is planted in God. “Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Ps 92:13-14 NKJV). As long as your root is in the ground – in God – there is hope for you. God will send rain and a shoot will sprout from your stump. Merry Christmas!
If you’re not born again, celebrating Christmas without Jesus in your heart is meaningless. You need to give your life to Jesus Christ who is the reason for the season. Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I’m a sinner and I can’t save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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