“But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” (Isaiah 6:13, NIV)
The people of Israel face God’s judgment. They are like a tree which is cut down. Their situation seems quite hopeless. The Lord tells Isaiah that His judgment will continue “until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste” (Isaiah 6:11). That sounds like the final blow for the people of Israel.
But it is not. God will leave a “stump” in the land, a “holy seed”. This gives hope! For, as Job remarks about ordinary trees, “there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again” (Job 14:7). The same goes for the figurative tree of Israel. They will be deported to Babylon, but in Jeremiah 29, the Lord promises that after seventy years they will return to their own country. God has good plans for them, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
This mixture of judgment and hope is characteristic of Biblical prophecies. God does punish sin and His punishment can be harsh, but He always gives people the opportunity to repent and come back to Him. Even before the people are taken captive by the Babylonians, God tells them that there is a future full of hope.