Friday, December 24, 2010
DECEMBER 24—Twenty-Seventh Day of Advent
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
What this child inaugurates in a seemingly small beginning will have within it potentialities of unbelievable growth. His rule and the peace He achieves will develop endlessly. By the time Isaiah appeared on the scene the great promise to David about the continuance of his line was very well known and accepted in Israel. Because of the permanent reign of this king, our joy too will be progressive, permanent, and perpetual.
Progressive: His reign would have small beginnings, but it would grow until it had no end. It would spread from Bethlehem, to Galilee, to Antioch, to Asia Minor, to Rome—to the whole world. Why will our gladness (v 3) keep growing? Because the reign of this king will keep growing.
Permanent: This last Davidic King will establish His throne on justice and righteousness, and no power will ever be able to overthrow it, unlike Israel's former kings.
Perpetual: and His reign will extend "From then on and forevermore"; it will carry over into the next age of the New Heavens and New Earth. "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Rev. 11:15).
The description closes with two emphatic declarations: First, His work reaches into the vast vistas of eternity. Second, the Lord with burning zeal for this whole undertaking stands continually behind His chosen one. This is one of the clearest and most meaningful Messianic prophecies in the whole Old Testament. In case any doubt remains, Isaiah ends with a statement that is used only three times in the OT: "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." "Lord of hosts" means "Lord of armies."
The Lord has at His disposal three kinds of armies. He has creation itself—the stars, the elements, hail, rain, snow, etc. He has all national armies at His call; no matter whether they are Christian or pagan, all military powers are at his disposal. He has the angelic armies at His beck and call. Isaiah is saying that all of the Lord's passionate zeal, together with all of his resources as Commander-in-Chief, backs the reign of this King. All three of these armies worked together to put into effect God's plan at the birth of Jesus. God used the Roman government's census to ensure that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, thus fulfilling prophecy. A star in the heavens guided the wise men to the Christ-child. And God had the angels direct the shepherds to the child, and lead the heavenly choirs in songs of praise at the birth of the Messiah.
—Pastor Randy Booth, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Nacogdoches, TX
You are King, O Christ. The right to rule over the entire universe, the affairs of men, Your church, and our individual lives, is in Your hands. Cause us to understand that fact and submit to Your authority. Cause Your church to recognize the absolute necessity of bowing before You in everything. Cause the nations of the world to see that the government must and will be upon Your shoulder. May this great truth be a reality in our lives today. On the basis of Your life, death, and resurrection, You could say, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matt.28:20). And it is on the basis of Your sovereign authority and rule that we Your people have been commissioned to disciple the nations. For the Father has highly exalted You and given You the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that You are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. AMEN
"Advent" means "arrival." In this case, it is the expected arrival of the Messiah. And so, with great anticipation, God's people, believing what He had promised, looked with hope, for a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord! We look now with remembrance of what God has done in the sending of His Son. Indeed, He came! He came to be the light of the world. And so He was, and is, and will be forevermore! "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. On this eve of Christmas we look with great anticipation; the Light will soon shine on the world!