Think about when you first came to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Think about all the little things that lined up so that you learned about Christ. That’s the zeal of the Lord Almighty. He pursued you until you put your trust in him.
“For 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, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of 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 with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV)
This is a continuation of the prophecy that we find earlier in Isaiah 7:14. It is a promise of peace, something that the nation of Israel was not experiencing at the time. It was written about 700 years before Jesus was born. And yet Jews and Bible critics now say that this does not refer to a coming Messiah, but to Isaiah’s son. We read about Isaiah’s son being born in Isaiah 8:3. Then verse 4 is then a further explanation of Isaiah 7:15-16.
Chapter 8 goes on to rebuke any nation that would attempt to fight against God’s people (v 9-10). “God is with us” is the same as “Immanuel.” God declares that his plan will come about and will not be thwarted. His zeal will bring it about.
But the prophecy of peace cannot refer to the immediate fulfillment for the people in that situation. Eventually, all of Israel would be exiled from their land (v 13-14). The standard is that we regard God as holy, and no other. King Ahaz, and other wicked kings of Israel, led the people to worship false gods. Ultimately, it was not because of armies and wars that the Israelites were exiled. They rejected God. Since they claimed to be God’s people, they were cursing his name, and God would not allow his name to be profaned any longer.
But there is hope (chap 9:1-3). Isaiah looked forward to a day when God would restore his people. God’s people are those who claim the name “Immanuel.”
Isaiah 9:6 cannot refer to Isaiah’s son because of how verse 6 describes him (God, Father). We are living between verse 6 and 7. We have not yet seen Jesus established as the ruler of all creation, who would bring peace in the ultimate sense. But it will come about. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will bring it about.
What motivates God to do what he does? His love for us? Yes, but not because of anything we are. We don’t deserve his love. His nature? Yes, but his nature in response to what? God is perfectly content in himself, and has been forever, so he did not need to create us. He is motivated by His own glory. His own zeal. God is passionate about bringing glory to himself.
Pastor Chris Huff has been with us since July 2009. He and his wife, Abby, have four children. Chris is originally from St. Louis, MO and even though he was raised as a city boy, he has a small town heart. Chris is all over the internet, so you can find him on Facebook, Twitter,… (read more)