5-Minute Bible Studies
DECISIVENESS – A Five-Minute Study (Version I)
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by David and Christine Palmer
Ph.D candidates at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio
March 12, 2001
The Ideal Man as Visualized by Isaiah (Version I)
The ability to make good decisions requires a knowledge of the good. The resolve to execute good decisions promptly requires a commitment to realize the potential of the good in our lives. Do you have the moral framework out of which you are empowered to recognize a truly good decision? Are you filled with a sense of purpose which enables you to act decisively in pursuit of that which is good?
One of the most inspirational voices in all of biblical literature is the prophet Isaiah. One of Isaiah’s most enduring legacies both to Judaism and Christianity is his depiction of the ideal man of God. This individual is at times described as an ideal David and at other times as an ideal Moses who was first called ‘the Servant of the Lord’ (Deut 34:5; Josh 1:1). Isaiah’s ideal man of God will play a decisive role in God’s greatest plans. He will lead God’s people in all aspects of righteousness. One important aspect of his righteous character is precisely that of decisiveness. Isaiah 11:1-10 offers a beautiful, poetic description of the ideal man of God.
11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD– 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
A fruitful tree springs out of the family of Jesse, the father of David. The fruitful tree symbolically depicts the ideal man of God upon whom the Spirit of the living God rests. He understands the way of the good, the way of wisdom, because he has learned it from God. The Spirit of God provides him, and by extension us, with understanding, counsel, knowledge, and a reverence for God in our lives. The ideal man of God has the moral framework to recognize that which is a good decision. He is not influenced wrongly by peer pressure. The prophet further states that the man of God will not make decisions by mere appearances or what sounds like it might be good, rather he acts decisively because he acts with righteousness. He does what is right no matter what the cost. He is so filled with a sense of mission and purpose that righteousness is said to be the very clothes which he wears. The final scenes of this stirring paragraph describe how the world around the man of God is suddenly transformed. His decisive stance for the goodness of God changes fear into trust, danger into safety and ultimately spreads the knowledge of God throughout the entire world. Is there any greater impact might we might possibly seek for our own lives?
The action steps for decisiveness involve looking at things from more points of view than my own, not giving in to peer pressure and sticking to the right decision. How are these steps reflected in the character of the ideal man of God portrayed in Isaiah? How can I emulate this in my own life?
Spent a period of time in prayer with God, ask for forgiveness for your past failures to act decisively for God’s goodness in the world and ask him to fill you with his Spirit so that this aspect of his character might be realized in all of our lives.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.