There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
The justice found in Jesus’ kingdom will include swift judgment. “He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Is 11:4b). One of the difficulties in our own judicial system is that we give lip service to the right to a speedy trial, but the system is often bogged down in legalities that seem to drag on forever. In Jesus’ kingdom, there will be swift justice. Not just swift judgment, but swift judgment that is just.
Second, earthly peace characterizes his reign. The order of creation appears to be restored. “The wolf will dwell with the lamb” (Is 11:6). “The cow and the bear shall graze” (Is 11:7). “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Is 11:9). This full knowledge of the LORD seems to extend beyond people, to all creation. The world is restored to its proper order.
Third, the restoration of Israel characterized Jesus reign. “He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Is 11:12). God has not forsaken, nor forgotten his people. They will one day be restored. We cannot excuse bad behavior on Israel’s part. Neither must we forget that God has chosen and blessed Israel as his special possession. He will draw them back to himself.
If these are three characteristics of Jesus’ coming kingdom, then shouldn’t they also be something that we, as his people with the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), are working toward? What that means and how that looks will take some consideration, but certainly justice, creation care, and a concern for the Jews ought to characterize the life of the believer. There is much more in Isaiah 11, but perhaps this is enough for us to start with. Father, open my eyes to see where I need to be more proactive in these areas that will ultimately characterize your son’s kingdom.