The Righteous Branch

Read: Jeremiah 22:1-5

Behold, the days are coming . . . when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch. (v. 5)

Last fall I cut down a tree that had grown up in a corner of my yard. This spring, to my surprise, I saw small green shoots growing out of what I thought was a dead stump. In today’s reading, Jeremiah uses the same metaphor for the exile—when God leveled the city of Jerusalem and laid waste to his people’s way of life. The exile should have been the end. After Babylon decimated the city, there should have been nothing but a dead stump.

Within the wreckage of the destroyed city and its displaced inhabitants, God saw life. God had leveled the city for the sake of replanting his people. Through Jeremiah, God spoke words that would echo throughout history: “The days are coming . . . when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch . . . He will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior” (vv. 5-6 NIV).

In God’s story, the stump was never dead. It was from the roots of the destroyed city and the displaced people that God raised the hope of the world. God proved that suffering and sin and death and hell would not win. The destroyed city was never beyond the hope of rebuilding. The displaced people were never beyond God’s reach. Our God is the one who replanted his people after uprooting them. He is the one who replaced the cross with the empty tomb. Trust him to bring new life where you only see death. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God to show you signs of his new life in you.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.