The sugarcane fields are bare and burnt. Excess cane leaves, consumed by the fire that clears the chaff and waste, are a heap of ashes. Rows and rows of blackened, fallen stalks scream “No hope! No hope!” They burned, consumed by flames, with no expectation of life or usefulness again. The harvest is over.
Ah, but in a day or two, tiny shoots of green are sprouting up, ready to grow sweet cane for next season’s harvest.
How can that be? Only ashes remained of the cane. But deep in the ground, below the top soil, a root ball survived. The roots are still alive and growing, watered by the condensation from the heat above. A remnant of the former grand stalks of cane, and from that root, new cane sprouts, bringing hope of an abundant harvest.
The Jewish people seemed to be in a hopeless situation. God had promised that the throne of David would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16). Unfortunately, the kings from the line of David turned from God, and God’s people followed them. Their kingdoms fell, their families fell apart, they are taken into exile. The family tree burned to a nub of charred ash.
From exile, they came back home to rebuild their country and their temple. In time, they came under the rule of the Romans. But who remained in the Davidic line to be their king? The Israelites were expecting a military or political savior to deliver them from Roman rule and oppression. Who would this man be? Who would save them?
“Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1 CSB
Who could have imagined that a shoot would grow, green and tall to deliver the Jewish people? Who knew that the Savior would be a child? Who knew this child would be the root promised years ago.
God knew. He had promised, and His promises always prevail. God promised a root would grow. A branch would bear fruit. The people had hope. A remnant left, a shoot sprouting up from the stump of a life that seems as if it has gone up in flames.
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Luke 1:31-33 NASB
Hope was born in a manger those many years ago. A green shoot of life rising from the ashes. Jesus is His name. Emmanuel, God with us.
Have your Christmas dreams have gone up in smoke, due to circumstances beyond your control? When the marriage fractures or you lose your job, things seem hopeless. When loved ones die, when lives are destroyed by fires of affliction, things seem hopeless. But remember: underneath the burning fields, the roots of your life are watered. Soon a small green shoot will appear.
There is always hope, when Jesus is your Savior.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16 NASB
When you look back at the fires you’ve walked through, seeing only smoke and ashes, remember to search for that tiny stump that refuses to die. The root of Jesse – hope and salvation of the world. The sprout of hope that is Jesus, the bright morning star of a new day dawning. A spot of green in all the black and brown rubble.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Until next time,
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