Monday, December 6, 2010

"That Stubborn Stump" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 205
“That Stubborn Stump”
By Rev. Greg Smith

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
      yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
 And the Spirit of the Lord will 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 11:1-2 NLT)

            Not long ago, a friend was telling me about his commitment to keep a promise, even though keeping his commitment might be inconvenient and even costly.  Psalm 15:4 says that a person of integrity, worthy of dwelling in God’s presence, keeps his oath even when it hurts.”  Today, though, it seems that promises have lost their meaning.  We fulfill our promises only when it’s expedient to do so.  Our word has lost its meaning.
            You can rest assured that even though people break their promises, God is always faithful to His word.  God made promises to Noah and his family (Gen 9:1-17), to Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12, 15, 17), to Moses & Israel (Ex 20; Dt 11), and to King David.  In 2 Sam 7:11-16, God told David that his royal line would endure for all eternity.  That must have made David feel pretty confident!  Yet because of the unfaithfulness of David’s descendants, the kingdom was divided by civil war and finally conquered by outside enemies.  The temple was destroyed and the throne thrown down.  It must have seemed like God was breaking His promise.
Has anyone ever broken a promise to you?  Perhaps you’ve been a victim of broken promises so often that you have a hard time trusting people anymore.  Businesses break their promises.  Politicians break their promises.  Spouses beak their promises.  Friends break their promises.  In the wake of so many broken promises, it can be hard to know who to trust.
Hebrews 6:18 (NIV) says, “It is impossible for God to lie.”  Joshua 23:14 (NIV) says, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”  You can count on God keeping His word.
Isaiah prophesied that even though David’s line had been seemingly broken, though David’s family was like a cut-off stump, a tender shoot would rise from that stump and bring life once more.  The Messiah would be a descendant of David, and He would sit on David’s throne forever.  Both Matthew and Luke show us not one but two different ways (both patrilineal and matrilineal genealogies are given) that Jesus the Messiah is a descendant of David.  He was proclaimed King at the Triumphal Entry, and now sits on the throne at the right hand of God.  The Lord keeps His promises.
Where are the stumps in your life?  Where are the places where you’ve been cut down, where it seems like God’s promises to you have been broken?  Where have you suffered hurt?  As God restored the line of David, so He can bring a tender shoot from the stumps in your life.  You can trust God to keep His promises, because our God is “Faithful and True (Rev 19:11).”

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