Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 16:6-13, Isaiah 11:1-6, Isaiah 53:2-3, Matthew 12:22-23, Matthew 22:41-46, Revelation 22:16
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!
I love this line from the Christmas carol “O Holy Night.” The world was weary, tired, and broken. Yet, when Christ was born, hope came alive!
Since the fall of mankind, God had given promises that He would one day send a Redeemer to save His people from their sins. In Jesus, this promise came to fruition—what the world had been longing for finally came true! But the night of their waiting had been long. At times it must have seemed endless.
Long before the nation of Israel had entered the Promised Land, Balaam proclaimed that a star would come from Jacob (Numbers 24:17). A star was a symbol of a powerful kingdom that was to come that would subdue its enemies. The Messiah would be the true star that came from Jacob, one who would subdue His enemies and bring everything subject under His rule. The “Morning Star” became a natural reminder of this promise when it appeared in the sky every morning. The planet Venus, also called the “Morning Star,” is the brightest star in the sky and appears in the east, serving as an indication that the night is coming to an end. It was a reminder that night—whether physical or metaphorical—does not last forever.
Isaiah prophesied about the destruction that was to come to the kingdom of Judah. Indeed, in 586 BC, Judah was cut off—destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—and viewed as a “stump.” But, Isaiah also prophesied that “a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse was the father of King David, the one from whom Israel knew the Messiah would come. With this prophecy from Isaiah, God reaffirmed the promise He made to David that his line would endure forever (2 Samuel 7:16). This new line signified a new beginning, one free from the corruption of the later kings of Judah.
Like the Morning Star, tree stumps provided hope for God’s people. When the stump of a healthy tree is left in the ground, it can produce new trees. Though the tree has been cut down, sprouts can appear around the stump and can grow into viable trees themselves. In the same way, the Israelites believed God would restore them through the Messiah. Even though they had been cut off, God could sprout lasting hope from a stump.
Jesus is the fulfillment of all God had promised to His people. In Revelation 22:16, Christ says, “I am the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.” He is the One they’d waited for, the One they’d hoped for.
However dark or long our night of waiting, we must remember the faithfulness of the Lord. All His promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). We can get caught up in the thrill of hope, the excitement, the joy, because we are confident and secure in Him. When we hope and trust in Christ, we will not be disappointed (Romans 5:5).