10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. 14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. 15 And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals. 16 And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:10–16 ESV)
The chapter concludes by elaborating the result of the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord. The nations are going to be gathered to God. The root of Jesse will be the banner and signal to the nations to come to the Lord. The apostle Paul quotes this in Romans 15:12. We will start in verse 8 to see the context of Paul’s point.
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:8–13 ESV)
The nations are going to come in for instruction. The Gentiles are going to have equal opportunity to receive instructions and live in the glorious kingdom of David. Gentiles will not have to live in hostility with God. They will not be part of the curse of sin any longer. They can also be joined in the kingdom if they will put their faithful dependence on God.
Now consider this point: if Isaiah was not fulfilled when Jesus came his first time to the earth, but pictures a future time yet to come, then Gentiles cannot and are not in the kingdom for salvation now. The text has a cause and effect. When the root of Jesse comes, he will establish a kingdom that will end hostility and remove the curse of sin. During that same time, the root of Jesse will bring the nations to himself and his rest will be glorious. Jesus would be the banner to rally around. Jesus will promise a glorious place of rest. Trusting in Jesus will not bring disappointment. Listen to Jesus’ commentary on this prophetic concept.
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:31–33 ESV)
The cross is the banner we will rally around. The cross and the resurrection are the signal to the world that will draw all the nations to him. Isaiah 11:14 shows the kingdom of Christ expanding beyond its promised borders of Canaan out into the surrounding nations. Further, a new exodus is going to occur (11:15-16). Jesus is going to remove every obstacle and bring about the salvation and deliverance of his people. The cross is the obstacle remover. The cross is the means by which we are redeemed from the curse of sin and walk on dry ground through the sea to the Davidic king and his glorious rule. As we study the death of Jesus we must keep in mind that this is the signal to the world that is reconciling them to God, taking them out from under the curse of sin, and making it possible to belong to the remnant that finds grace. Return to the Mighty God, lean on the Lord with all your heart, and find rest in him.