walk in the word
6For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. —Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah’s Christmas greeting reaches across almost three thousand years. “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. . .” Now, in order to understand that phrase, you have to understand how the Old Testament prophets saw the future.
Isaiah was allowed by God to see what I would call the prophetic mountain peaks of the Messiah. Now, a series of mountains seen from a distance appears as if the peaks are right behind one another. But often, there are wide valleys between the peaks. These “peaks” are the First and Second Advents of Christ. Advent means coming or appearing.
The First Advent of Christ is the child born and the Son given. To Isaiah, the next phrase comes immediately, but we now know these were peaks separated by, so far, 2,000 years. The “government” phrase is about the Second Advent of Christ. The disciples got confused because they thought that Jesus was going to immediately set up an earthly kingdom! But the angel said, “For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). In the First Advent of Christ, He comes as Savior. In the Second Advent, He comes as King. This is talking about what is yet future and it ought to encourage our hearts as we think about the current state of the world, which seems to be spinning toward the point of becoming beyond repair.
So, who is going to fix the world? Jesus Christ is going to fix it: “And the government shall be upon his shoulder.” The word government is the word misrah, related to the word czar, prince, where the prince resides. When Isaiah wrote chapters 7–9, King Ahaz was depending on human allies to rescue him from enemies. And Isaiah’s timeless message was “Trust God, not human government.” We need that word as badly as Ahaz did. Our confidence and security rests in the sovereignty of God and Jesus’ government, which can never be equaled by any human government. Any fix now is temporary; only Jesus will bring about a permanent and eternal solution.
Prayer: Father in heaven, the future rests on Your shoulders; my future rests there, too. Help me to live that way. Remind me that this world is passing away, but You and Your Word remain. Thank You for the daily reminders that ultimately, depending on anything or anyone other than You is doomed to failure and disappointment. You never fail and Your faithfulness is new every morning! I thank You and honor You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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