“But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.” Isaiah 6:13
This verse hung in the air as I read it and contemplated the current financial environment that is creating fear in the hearts of people. As I read this verse the Lord spoke to me, “I am raising up a host of prophets who will prophesy hope to the seed that remains in the stump. I never leave a stump without a seed. This seed contains the DNA of My life. It is activated and brought to life by hope. Raise your voice and speak hope to the seed that remains. The seed is waiting for the sound of hope. Do not focus on the stump. The stump only carries the seed. This present devastation is temporary. Words of hope are anchored in eternity. Rise up and stand before the stump just as my servant Noah did when I asked him to build the Ark. You will look foolish to those who only see the stump, but I will grow the seed and the tree will stand again. Prophesy to My seed.”
This word from the Lord has a cultural context that we need to understand. We are in a time when the word of hope will have a new level of power and anointing.
In my years of ministry I have been able to travel to many nations. I have seen the church in a western affluent setting and I have seen the church in jungles and worshipped in open-walled huts sitting on split-rail pews that were tree logs in their former lives.
In our western cultures we have discretionary time. This time is that extra part of our day that is not devoted to simply surviving – getting water, finding food and avoiding disease. In this extra space we have the opportunity to read, play sports, watch TV, go on vacation, buy things, and develop the skills required for a hobby. Entire portions of our culture supports itself from the existence of this core of time.
The shrinking of this discretionary core of a culture effects everything. A consumer culture survives on the financial well-being of people who live and recreate within this core. If you don’t believe it, talk to car dealers today who used to bank on people buying new cars every few years, or the clothing manufacturer who hasn’t seen the volume in sales of casual attire he used to see, or the small town business owner whose profit margin is gone along with the shoppers who used to shop as a form of recreation.
People in many developing countries have only one set of work clothes to wear in the field during the week and then an old suit or a hand-me-down dress that was given to them from some western missionary clothes bin. They wear their “good clothes” to go to church on Sunday. For these people there is no discretionary middle. Today, some of these people are not only found in third world nations – they live among us as the working poor in our communities.
The cultural shift in which most of the western world now finds itself is a time of great opportunity for the church. As the core of leisure time shrinks and the ability to fund that time also diminishes, many people will come face to face with a growing emptiness that can lead to fear and panic. Something must fill that void. This is the time for the Church to speak into the emptiness and prophesy hope.
Just as there remains a natural DNA in the stump of a felled tree in a forest, there remains in each life, felled by crisis, the DNA of God that is waiting to bring resurrection life to what appears to be dead.
As Isaiah was receiving his call as a prophet, the majority of the people in his world did not fully understand God and did not live for Him. That did not stop God. He was waiting to bring His love to His people if they would turn back to Him. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. He always works with the willing remnant seed. That is why He ended Isaiah 6 with the words of verse 13, “But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”
As you walk in your city today God will bring you face to face with people whose lives resemble tree stumps. We live in a culture of fallen trees. God has sent His Church into the streets to prophesy hope to the seed that is housed in a decaying stump of human brokenness.
As the old tree stump rots away a new season of growth will emerge because words of hope activated the seed within.