[Blair Roberts, husband to Melissa and father to Makena and Bella, is the Youth Minister at Glen Elm.]
Consider the first portion of today’s reading:
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 might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and 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.
This is a new kind of King. One different than any we’ve ever known. One I am anxiously awaiting.
I both love and hate politics. I love it because they stir a passion in me to strive for a better world
through social change. I hate them because the people who run our world are often controlled by
special interests and the whole process comes across as insincere. Handshakes and smiles for the
camera. Song and dance routine. If that sounds skeptical, it’s because I am. What I once put my faith
in to be the hope for a better future, I now see as choosing between the better of two evils to get us
through the next 4 years. This sounds harsh, and while I don’t mean to demean those who run for
office, as I do believe the vast majority to have pure motives, it is difficult to not get jaded as you
watch the 24 hour news networks and the debacle that seems to be the worlds stage.
Isaiah promises us a new kind of leader is coming. One unlike all the others. One filled with the Spirit
of the Lord and all the things that come with that. Wisdom, understanding, a good counsellor on his
side, power and a fear of the Lord. A new kind of leader. A new kind of king. One that surpasses the
world stage we have now, not because of fear & intimidation or bowing to the whims of the people.
He is one that will lead with wisdom that comes from the Spirit.
Wisdom is hardly the first word that comes to mind when I think of politicians. Maybe you think I
should show them more respect, and you are probably right. I’m still a rebellious punk rocker at
heart, so forgive me. But when I read the opening passage of Isaiah 11, I can’t help but be filled with
hope. Not only will this one have wisdom, but he won’t judge by appearances or based on the winds
of change and rumors. But he will judge by what is right! He will give justice for the poor. He will
bring justice to the oppressive. He will work hard and create a world filled with righteousness and
faithfulness. I don’t even feel the need to write a blog. What more is there to expand on! Just reading
this fills me with an expectant, passionate longing for the coming of this branch of Jesse!
What I can say is this. Any stock I may hold in the power of politicians to change this world for the
better falls flat on its face when faced with the way Jesus will rule. While politicians offer bandaid
solutions for a broken world, Jesus offers real hope and change for the benefit of all.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him,
and his resting place will be glorious.
This picture of peace astonishes me. Mostly because of how ridiculous it sounds. A week ago or so, I
wrote about my bear experiences and the thought of a child leading a lion is laughable. But I think
therein lies the beauty. Because I can’t picture this without a child laughing. Wrestling with the lion,
the way that I wrestle with my dog Scar. He has some pitbull in him, and looks very much the part of
the vicious dog from the outside. People usually walk by giving him a wary glance. But the way he
loves my two little girls would astonish most people. The way he lets them crawl on him, pull his ears,
hug him, all while loving every second of it, wagging his tail in delight and planting sloppy kisses on
their face…this is the picture I have when I read of the child leading the lion. Palestinian having coffee
with the Jew. The homeless being taken in by those with an extra bed. The former KKK member
repenting and being embraced by their brothers and sisters of different races. Members of the
Westboro Baptist Church waking up to their immoral, destructive ignorance and putting down their
picket signs and giving the gay man a hug.
A celebration where everyone is invited. A peace that our world has not seen and will not see until the
Lord comes back. The new ruler. I can’t help but hope when I read of this. Because if this world is all
we have, then it isn’t much. If brokenness, loneliness, hatred, racism and greed are all I have to hope
in, I don’t have much. But I believe a new kind of leader is coming. One that will reconstruct our
broken world into something more beautiful than I can imagine. I have yet to meet a politician that
can inspire this kind of hope. Something tells me that I never will. But I believe a day is coming. A new
kind of leader.
No one says it better than Isaiah.