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"A Little Child Shall Lead Them"

Isaiah 11:1-10

Jim Davis

Through the telescopic insight of prophecy Isaiah foresees the nature of the Messianic kingdom, which we know as Christ kingdom, which is no less than his church. In the following verses Isaiah describes the nature of Christ kingdom and the ultimate goal of Christ’s eternal reign.

Isaiah 11:1-11
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. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. NIV

The clarity of Isaiah teaching that a little child shall lead those in the Messianic kingdom becomes evident in Jesus’ teaching.

Matthew 19:13-15
13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. NIV

When Jesus came they were refusing to believe in him in spite of his works. They accused him of gluttony, being a drunkard, and of being a friend of sinners. He told them their wisdom was proved right by her action. If the works he had done were done in Sodom they would have repented long ago. When Jesus was rejected he prayed saying, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure" (Matthew 11:25-26).

Who were the children to whom God revealed his truth? "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:2-4). It is obvious those children to whom God revealed his truth were those who humbled themselves as little children to listen to Jesus.

Jesus was active in the synagogues as a child. On one occasion Jesus was found in the synagogue after he had been missing for three days at the age of twelve. When they found him in the temple courts, "he was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers" (Luke 2:46-48 NIV). No doubt about it, he was God, but more importantly he came as one of us to exemplify a way of life.

There are four qualities that children possess that must lead members of Christ church today. These qualities will not make us childish but childlike. These qualities that most all children possess can lead us to maturity. Isn’t it odd that children can lead us to maturity?

Children Lead Us in Humility

Jesus says whoever shall humble himself as a little child is great in kingdom (Matthew 18:4). A child is the epitome of humility. God resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Jesus put humility at the top of the list of his prerequisites for entering the kingdom of heaven when he said "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God" (Matthew 5:3). Poor in spirit was Jesus’ definition for humility.

There is no way we can serve God without humility. Pride puts us into an anti God state because God resists the proud. Listen to Jesus rebuke pride:

Matthew 23:8-13
8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. NIV

Someone said that humility is not thinking too little of one’s self; humility is just not thinking of one’s self.

Proverbs 26:12
2 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him. NIV

Proverbs 27:2
2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips. NIV

God seeks to keep us humble. God’s work in Paul’s personal life was directed toward creating humility.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10
6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NIV

Have you ever watched how some people turn display windows in stores into mirrors? They are not looking at what is on display, but they are looking at the reflection of themselves. A man who is struck on himself is stuck with himself, and nobody wants him.

Luke 22:24-27
24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. NIV

You have seen those American flag stickers on cars that say, "We are Proud!" Those stickers scare me. Pride always leads to our downfall! We need humility more than pride.

Zechariah writes, "The pride of Jordan is spoiled" (Zechariah 11:3). "The pride of Assyria shall be brought down: (Zechariah 10:11). That prophecy came true. Pride shall always be brought down. God says , "I will cut off the pride of the Philistines" (Zechariah 9:6).

Proverb 11:2
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. NIV

Proverbs 16:18-19
8 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud. NIV

Children Lead Us In A Forgiving Spirit

Nothing displays a child like attitude more than forgiveness.

1 Corinthians 14:20
20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. KJV

1 Peter 2:1-3
2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. NIV

If we would be, not only like a little child, but as "newborn babes," we must "lay aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil speaking," so that we may grow up. To be forgiving is to be God-like.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV

Children don’t generally hold grudges. Those who do, have been taught to do so by the example seen in older people. Children playing together often get mad, but, as time passes the anger is soon forgotten and they are back to playing together. All is forgiven. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we would follow the example of children?

Rebuke an older person and see what happens. They usually hold a grudge. They become resentful and bitter. It is a battle for the corrected to have the right attitude toward the one who corrected him.

Children know how to work out their differences. A child is a great example in forgiveness.

A Child Leads In Sincerity

Children lead the world in sincerity. They often are so frank they embarrass their parents. This past week my three year old granddaughter, Skylay, was very plain spoken to her other grandpa. She was visiting him in Virginia. She doesn’t get to see him as often as she sees me. He came into the room where Skylar was. He asked her to come to grandpa and you want believe what she said, "My other grandpa is better!" He handled it well. He simply said, "I am sure he is but this grandpa wants to see you too." Of course, her parents regret that she said that, I also regret it. But her other grandpa took it in great stride. We are all laughing about it.

A child is sincere. They tell it like it is without shading the facts. Sincerity leads us not to say one thing and mean another. We can’t hide anything from God; let us not hide anything from one another.

Joshua 24:14
14 "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! NKJV

Philippians 1:8-11
8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, NKJV

Romans 12:9
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. NIV

When you try to make an impression that is the impression you leave. We are called upon to prove the sincerity of our love (2 Corinthians 8:8). When a compliment is passed, or a criticism offered, there must be sincerity. When a song of praise is sung, or a prayer is uttered, there must be sincerity. There must be genuineness in all that we do. May a little child lead us in this matter of true honesty!

A Child Leads In Confiding Trust

Children have a tremendous confidence in their parents. If a child has a dad that is mechanically minded the child believes the child can fix anything. Children believe that there isn’t anything their parents can’t do.

In times of need a child doesn’t seem to question where the next meal is coming from. Children trust there will be food on the table. .

A little boy once asked his father to buy him something expensive. He was unable to do so, so he attempted to explain by saying, "That takes money, and I just don’t have it." He quickly replied, "Go to the bank, and get it." The rebuttal was, "You have to have money in the bank, before you’re allowed to draw any out." With an unwavering confidence he innocently said, "Well, Daddy, go put some money in the bank!" Why can’t we have that same confidence in God?

When you pray do you have implicit confidence in God’s ability to grant your request? Just how strong is your faith? Abraham staggered not at the promises of God; he was fully persuaded that God could perform the impossible.

Hebrews 4:16
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. NIV


Children often try to be like their parents. The way they dress, the way they talk. My oldest grandson talks just like his dad. His sister sounds just like her mother. When they answer the phone, I have to figure out to whom I am speaking. Our children imitate us in the way they live. Are you seeking to imitate them in humility, forgiveness, sincerity, and a confiding trust?

"Last night my little boy confessed to me
Some childish wrong;
And kneeling at my knee,
He prayed with tears:
‘Dear God make me a man,
Like Daddy—wise and strong!
I know you can.

Then while he slept,
I knelt beside his bed,
Confessed my sins,
And prayed with low bowed head:
‘O God, make me a child,
Like my child, here—
Pure, guileless,
Trusting you with faith sincere."

Learn these qualities from your children when they are small. It will make all the difference in the world when they grow up and start imitating you.


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