If Iran gets a nuke, would God stand by and let them wipe Israel off the map? He let it happen before, about 2700 years ago. God had planned to use Israel to bless other nations as a living demonstration of how much better life works when you pay attention to the real God, But, when they turned away and began to follow the gods and customs of their neighbors (now called Iran, Iraq and Syria), He allowed those countries to literally wipe His people off the map. Almost. God had not given up on His original plan. Speaking through Isaiah, He said:
” A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse [i.e. Israel]; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1, my explanation of “Jesse.”)
My neighbor got fed up with his apple tree. You couldn’t eat the apples and it messed up his yard in the fall. Here’s a picture of what used to be his apple tree: .
It looks a bit like Israel did after they stopped producing the kind of “fruit” God had intended. But look very closely at the bottom, left corner of the picture. Here’s a blow up:
That’s a shoot, coming up from the stump of his apple tree. You have to look carefully to even notice it. To the casual observer it doesn’t look like it will amount to much.
You could make the same mistake when it comes to Jesus, the “Shoot” Who sprouted from the “stump” of God’s Chosen People. You might miss Him, such a seemingly insignificant figure, compared to the might and grandeur of Rome. But Rome has fallen and the “Shoot” is still growing. Jesus is still blessing people of all nations who come to Him to be reconciled to God. He is “bearing the fruit” of leading people to the real God. Here’s more of what Isaiah wrote:
” A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord— 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; 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. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)
Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.