Week Four: The Holy Spirit and the Prophet Isaiah

Verse to memorize

“A spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the LORD.”


A. Isaiah 11:1-5

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,*
the spirit of knowledge and piety.**
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
and with the breath of His lips He shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around His waist,
and faithfulness the belt around His loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. (NRSV)

* The Vulgate calls might “fortitude”.
**The Septuagint or Greek version of the OT adds Piety; the NRSV following the Hebrew version leaves it out.

Meditation Questions

1) Q: The Prophet Isaiah was one of Israel’s greatest prophets. He lived roughly 700 years before Our Lord. In the beautiful passage above, he is foretelling the birth of a future King/Messiah. This future king will be a descendent of Jesse, the father of King David. He calls the family “tree” of Jesse a stump because at the time Isaiah prophesied, the kings of Judah were disappointing (like dead limbs of a once vibrant tree). He foresaw an ideal future king/messiah/anointed one. Q: What gifts would this future king have? A: A spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the LORD.

2) Q: Where will Isaiah’s ideal Messiah get these gifts? A: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him.” Q: What do we call these seven gifts? A: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Q: How do we get them? A: They are given by the Spirit in Baptism and confirmed in us at Confirmation.

3) Q: What is fear of the LORD? A: This “fear” is not a cringing, terrified fear. What the Bible calls fear of the LORD, is awe of both the power and justice as well as the love and mercy of Almighty God. It is a deep reverence for God.

B. Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn…

Meditation Questions

1) Q: In the third part of the Book of Isaiah, after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, and after the exile in Babylon, the prophet has returned to Jerusalem and has a vision of a glorious new Jerusalem after all its suffering. Q: How does the prophet get this knowledge? A: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon” him and “the LORD has anointed” him.

2) Q: In the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, and the Sacrament of the Sick and Dying, people are anointed with holy oil called chrism. In Ancient Israel, priests and kings were anointed by priests. But this prophet says “the LORD has anointed me”. How could the Lord God who was invisible anoint the prophet? A: The prophets received a spiritual anointing directly from the Spirit of God, whom the New Testament calls the Holy Spirit.

3) Q: This passage from the Book of Isaiah appears very important in the Gospels. Who quotes it? A: Stay tuned to the Family Bible Challenge next week to find out!


Courtesy of The Bible Project