Yesterday we had a big meeting to imaginatively inhabit some of Isaiah’s prophecy. We envisaged an itsy-bitsy fragile shoot growing out of a rotting stump. We assumed that nothing good could ever come from this stump, and this tiny sign of life did not in the least persuade us that wholesale redemption was going to flow from this negligible sprout and somehow fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. But that’s what Isaiah was telling us. Isaiah emphasized that it was important to recognize the primary themes of God’s workmanship in the days of king David (he referred to the stump as “the stump of Jesse,” which would make the shoot David).

David was not even a candidate for kingship. The popular vote clearly clamored for Saul; and not even the prophet Samuel (who was was generally in sync with God’s agenda) thought of David as “king material.” David was a rugged wilderness guy …he wasn’t well-versed in the ways of politics and popularity; but David was God’s choice for king, so Samuel dutifully anointed him in Jesse’s yard …and no one really knew about it. …It’s crazy! And it makes me curious. I wonder if perhaps God is establishing a major motif in the days of David? I wonder if the ultimate storyline will crescendo with THE CHRIST arriving in this world as King …but all the “impressive” circles of society will be clueless? And what if the only people who really know about the TRUE KING’s arrival are marginalized shepherds, and the elderly, and unborn children, and teenagers from Nazareth (i.e. ‘stump towns’ from which nothing good is ever expected), and magicians from the East? I wonder???

And I also wonder what the popular king – for whom society clamors – will do when and if he finds out about this clandestine King? In the days of King David, we see Saul fuming and fighting against the arrival of the True King. So David escapes to the cave of Adullam, and everyone who was in distress and in debt, and bitter in soul gathered to David in the wilderness. Meanwhile, Saul murders everyone in the city of Nob because of his desire to destroy David. Again, I wonder if something like this won’t happen in the Fullness of Time, when the King of kings comes to earth? …I wonder if perhaps someone like King Herod the Great wouldn’t kill all the male children 2 years old and under in the region where he suspected the True King was born?

And supposing the True King lives in wilderness obscurity during the formative years of his reign… I wonder what he’ll do with his time? In David’s story, while he’s living in the cave of Adullam with a bunch of outcasts and misfits, David gets word that a meek little community called Keilah is being harassed by the Philistines. So David mobilizes his misfits and they save the tiny town of Keilah! Isaiah talked about how the true king would do stuff like this, he said, “With righteousness the true king shall protect the poor, and rule with equity for the meek of the earth!”

And I wonder… how do the citizens of Keilah repay the kindness of king David? …they betray him! They surrender him into the hand of Saul! And again, I wonder if something like this won’t happen in the Fullness of Time, when the King of kings comes to earth? I wonder if the True King will be betrayed? Will he be surrendered into the hands of His destroyers? I wonder if the True King will be like a lamb led to slaughter? And I wonder if God hasn’t perhaps ordained such things to come to pass – from before the foundations of the earth – as the means by which He will orchestrate wholesale redemption for a broken and betraying world of sinners?