Advent: December 1: Seeing God Around Us

DECEMBER 1: The Story

Isaiah 11:1 – There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

When a tree is cut down, a stump is left.  Within the remainder of the stump, you see rings. Each ring symbolizes a year of growth for the tree. But, when a tree is cut down, that does not mean that it is the end of its life. It begins a process of regeneration and growth by sprouting. The sprout (or “shoot”) can occur off the side of the bark (a coppice sprout), off the middle of the stump (a stump sprout), or off a root (a root sprout).

Trees have been used since Biblical time to metaphorically speak about genealogy, which are family lines. In Isaiah, this idea is introduced when talking about Jesse of Bethlehem who was King David’s father because it was prophesied the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the family tree of Jesse.

But Christ would not just come from the tree of Jesse, but the “stump” of Jesse, which foretold that the Messianic line was not going to be from a beautifully crafted tree standing strong against time and storms, but it was going to be a cut down, devastated, left for dying, stump. The line from which the Messiah was to come would look hopeless… except for the stump.

A stump sprout, barely detectable in the lines of natural succession, would arise from ruin. It would withstand rain, drought, fire, and wind. It would grow again, slowly over time (over 1,000 years in fact) and become a magnificent tree for all to see and marvel at its glory. What God sets out to do, He will do, in His time.

SEE GOD AROUND YOU

Find trees in your yard. Estimate how many years you think they took to grow from a little sprout.

-What is the oldest & youngest tree you can find?

Find a tree that has been cut down where you can see the rings.

-Count how many years the tree lived by counting the rings out from the center.

-Look for signs of a rainy season (wide rings), dry season (narrow rings), and fire damage (dark marks)

APPLICATION

Try to imagine how long it took for God’s prophecy to be fulfilled about the coming Christ, and how patient God’s people had to have been. Is there anything in your life you are trusting God to take care of? Do you trust He will do what he says He will do, in His time?

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