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TO CHEW ON: " 'Behold the days are coming,' says the Lord, 'that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:
In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgement and righteousness in the earth.' " Jeremiah 33:14,15
Whenever we hear the word "covenant" come from God's mouth, we know that He is referring to a serious promise. In today's reading He reminds the people, through Jeremiah, of His covenant with David. God compared the surety of its fulfillment to the everyday occurrences of sunrise and sunset, saying He would no more break His promise to David than abolish night and day (Jeremiah 33:19,20).
And what was that promise? That "David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel" - Isaiah 33:17, 2 Samuel 7:15,16.
But we know that David's earthly dynasty did end. So how could God say He would never, did never break this promise?
Because this is a new kind of king, with a new kind of kingdom. This descendant of David's line would be called a "A Branch of righteousness." And like the kingdom Jesus described as His kingdom in other Bible passages we've read recently, this Branch's rule would be in ..."judgment and righteousness in the earth" - Jeremiah 33:15.
Other prophets referred to this Branch:
- Isaiah: "In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious…" - Isaiah 4:2, and "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, / And a Branch shall grow out of his roots" - Isaiah 11:2.
- Jeremiah himself first spoke a prophecy very similar to the one in our reading earlier in Jeremiah: "Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth" - Jeremiah 23:5
- Zechariah referred to this Branch in his prophecy of a vision of Joshua the High Priest, where an angel said to Joshua: " ' Hear, O Joshua, the high priest. / … For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch' " - Zechariah 3:8.
We believe that Jesus was and is this Branch. Why?
He was an earthly descendant of David, thus a branch of David's line and eligible to be a king (Matthew 1:1-17; Jesse and David are mentioned in Matthew 1:5,6).
Paul referred to Jesus Christ as coming from the "root of Jesse." And he extended the hope of coming under Jesus' reign to the Gentiles:
"Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the promise made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy as it is written … 'There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope' " - Romans 15:8,9.12, quoting Isaiah 11:10.
As we celebrate Jesus' incarnation during the Advent season coming up, let's include in our meditation the beautiful teaching of Jesus as the Branch. And let's, in faith, give thanks for the righteous and just nature of His forever kingdom.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for being the Branch, the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to David. I look forward to seeing Your righteous and just kingdom in real time. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.