through His Word
Merry Christmas! In Isaiah 4:2, Jesus is called the Branch of the Lord, and He is beautiful, excellent, glorious, and appealing.
The Branch: The Heart’s Delight
Every year we go to the same Christmas tree lot and spend about half an hour picking out our favorite. Once we have wrestled the tree into the house and onto its stand, our first reward is the beauty of the tree. Without any decorations at all, it’s stunning. The smell of pine wafting through the house is our second reward. Then my husband begins weaving strings of tiny colored lights through the branches, from the outer edges toward the trunk, and back again. A multicolored glow spreads slowly down from the top. This weaving process takes a while, so my light engineer usually wants to have a Christmas movie playing. As last year’s movie ended, his work of art glowed with 2800 lights.
Then it’s time to add the ornaments. Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus are always the first ornaments to be hung. Then the wise men. The older ornaments that come next, bring back sweet memories of their former owners. The tiny glass ball that belonged to my great-grandmother always has a prominent place on an upper branch. My grandmother’s bells and angels are sprinkled across the front of the tree. As we hang the rest of our ornaments, our memories weave through the faces and joys of past Christmases. The deep red velvet of our tree skirt is the finishing touch. All of these elements blend together to make the backdrop for each year’s festivities, beautiful and glorious.
The first Christmas was exceedingly beautiful and glorious. God’s extravagant love. His precious Gift. The Baby that was heralded by angels and a star. The Child that would be sought and worshiped by men who were wise. A King was born. A Savior was given—a Savior who would one day live in the hearts of those who were willing to receive Him.
Let’s look . . . at what Isaiah 4:2 says about the Branch.
“In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious;
And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing
For those of Israel who have escaped.”
The Branch is beautiful, glorious, excellent, and appealing to those who take hold of Him by faith. Great good awaits those who turn to Him. Jesus sustains us through the storms of life and furnishes us with hope until they are over. He calms our anxieties with His peace. He drives away fear with His comforting presence. He resolves our helplessness with His strength and power. He soothes our guilt and regret with forgiveness. He warms our hearts with His unending love. Jesus is our “Dayspring from on high” (Luke 1:78), our “Bright and Morning Star” (Rev 22:16), who is the indispensable key to possessing the morning after the storm. Our job is to take hold of Him by faith.
Those who take hold of the Branch of the LORD will discover that He is beautiful—pleasing and satisfying1—in His goodness, empathy, mercy, and compassion.
They will see that the Branch of the LORD is glorious—He is worthy of great respect2 and high praise.3 Jesus is glorious in His roles as our Savior, Lord, Teacher, and Friend. He is the Lamb of God who conquered sin’s power to enslave and to kill. He is our Champion and our Hero.
Those who turn from sin to faith in Jesus will find that He is excellent—He has “exceptional merit [and] virtue.”4 The exceptional virtue of His sinless life made it an acceptable sacrifice to God. This truth was confirmed when God raised Jesus from the dead.
Those of us who take hold of the Branch of the LORD by faith will find Him appealing—delightful, fascinating, intriguing, and engaging—in the warmth of His fellowship, the strength of His goodness, and the depth of His love. Jesus shares life with us, the good and the bad. He empathizes with us and helps us. He teaches us what good looks like and trains us to do it. He finds a solution for our problem or gives us the grace to make it through the tough times to the other side of the storm. He orchestrates adventures and relationships that refresh us and delight our hearts.
According to v.2, who will find these qualities in Jesus in that day? Those of Israel who have escaped the judgments of God—that is, those who believe. Those who have taken hold of the Branch of the LORD by faith, whose faith is alive and active in daily life—the righteous (Isa 3:10). . . .
Good is waiting. Jesus is waiting, and in Him is much good. What bright promise can we see in this verse for those who are languishing under the burdens of sin or struggling with the trials of life?
v.2 Those who take hold of Jesus by faith, will find Him beautiful, glorious, excellent, and appealing.
1. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th ed. (Cleveland, Ohio: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2008), 128.
2. Ibid., “honor,” 685.
3. Ibid., “splendid,” 1383.
4. Ibid., 495.
From Isaiah: Setting Things Right, pp.107-108
Copyright © 2013 by Beebe Kauffman