Christians identify Jesus as the branch of the Lord.
We may think of a branch as a small arm of a larger tree. Even if we see a large branch, the idea is different in Hebrew. It has a broader sense. Think of it as the offshoot or sprout. That is, it comes from something else.
Around Christmas time, we get reminded of Jesus’ lineage. If you have ever read that long list of names in church, you’re helping God’s people remember. Jesus was a part of the family line important to Israel’s salvation history. Of course, there are circumstances behind those names. Some faithful and just. Some just unfaithful. But they all led to Christ.
In Isaiah 4, the prophet sees the branch of the Lord. It “shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel” (Isaiah 4:2). That means a lot when you recall what the land and people would endure before that. Judgement would bring destruction and despair upon them.
With God, there is always redemption. So, the branch of God would cover them again. To those who remain faithful, holy, God promises rejoicing. Part of God’s promise includes God’s presence. A cloud by day and smoke and flaming fire at night will cover the city. Does that sound familiar? That brings us back to the closeness of God to the people in Exodus.
Out of the despair comes hope and restoration. There is a sense God will fulfill a time-sensitive judgement (See Isaiah 4:4). But the hope is not just after it is complete. The hope is that redemption comes out of the experience, too. “Whoever is left in Zion” will be called holy. That promise inspired faithfulness and endurance.
And what a reminder to us as well. As we endure our own despair, we may wonder what good can come from any of it. Our hope is God’s redemption. So, we trust all things can work together for our good. All things can still lead us to knowing and loving Jesus. All things.