Author: Ron Graham
In this age of short cuts and quick fixes, we sometimes forget the principle that roots have to be established downwards before fruit can be borne upward.
Isaiah foretells how the kingdom of Judah would be like a tree cut down to a stump, but this remnant would make roots and branches again and bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1-2, 27:6). Our text for this lesson is another passage in Isaiah which expresses the same hope...
“The remnant of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward”.
Isaiah 37:31-32, cf 2Kings 19:30
This passage recognises a simple principle which, if we would be wise and successful, we must understand very well, and put into practice. The principle is that you have to "make root downward" before you can "bear fruit upward".
In the Days of David, there had been a depth to the kingdom. There was justice, faith, humility, rather than corruption, idolatry, and hypocrisy. In Isaiah's time the good king Hezekiah had the same depth. He was a man of prayer, his faith was deep rooted in God.
In general, however, the kingdom had lost its roots. Its people had gone back into wickedness. How often they are condemned for this in the book of Isaiah. In chapter five for example, the principles on which the wicked operate are listed and Isaiah says, "Their root will become like rot, and their blossom will blow away as dust, for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts..." The wicked have rotten roots, and their blossom does not set fruit (Isaiah 5:18-24).
The metaphor of root and fruit is fitting for us as Christians. The shallow-rooted Christian and the shallow-rooted church will wither and die. We need to fulfill the word of Isaiah, "take root downward and bear fruit upward" (Isaiah 37:31).