His Kingdom Comes
Sunday, August 23, 2015
1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. 3 Thou shalt multiply the nation, Thou shalt increase their gladness; they will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
In verse one Isaiah said, “He treated the land with contempt but later on He shall make it glorious. What land was he speaking of? Galilee of the Gentiles. When we hear the name of that piece of real estate we have very different thoughts from those that would have gone through the minds of Isaiah's listeners.
We think of the ministry of Christ and the fact that Jesus grew up in the region known as Galilee. We can see in this prophecy that God intended for this message to be much more than a sermon for the people of Isaiah's day. We recognize that God spoke through this prophet to foretell of the coming of the King of kings and Lord or lords.
Galilee indeed is thought of as a place where the light of God gleamed out to all the world. God Himself walked among men. He healed and taught as only God could.
Mankind has always tended to walk in the darkness of turning our backs on the light that is God.
I also find it interesting that Isaiah used the phrase “they will be glad in Thy presence”. A few chapters before he spoke of the birth of the child who would be called Emmanuel. I think it likely that some of the passages that Jesus spoke about with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection came from Isaiah's prophecies. Indeed, it is so clear to us. Perhaps not so clear to Israel in Isaiah's time.
One of the best loved passage of Scripture come from here. How much of that is because of Handel's Messiah may be questioned, but still, it seems obvious to those who have the New Testament that Isaiah indeed was inspired by God to write these words which so clearly foretold of the coming of our beloved Messiah, Jesus, the Christ.
“6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”
Such glorious and meaningful words, and yet, at times, perhaps, they are too well known and we do not stop to think about the real meaning of those words.
A child to be born who will be called “the Mighty God”. That line in itself is truly amazing. God has come down to us. Born as a baby and growing up in Galilee of the nations. Galilee would have been part of the northern kingdom in Isaiah's time. By the time of Jesus, the Jews had resettled this part of Palestine after their return from Babylon. The mongrel race planted here and formed by the intermarrying of those left behind by the Assyrian's and other peoples that were brought in were in a plot of land that maintained the name of Samaria. It was sandwiched between Galilee and Judea. The Jews who had worked hard to maintain their national identity and genetic purity refused to associate with the inhabitants of Samaria. They would walk miles out of their way to avoid contact with these people they thought less of than their animals.
When you think of this history, Isaiah's words take on new meaning when he called this area Galilee of the Nations, or Gentiles. The King of kings was raised in this area with all of the various races co-mingled and living together. He brought light to the world as he spoke to these people who had relatives in distant lands.
This message about a coming king who would become known as the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father the Prince of Peace. What a glorious message.
And for us, today, here in the United States of America, West Virginia, St Albans, in the community along 2 ¾ mile creek, on Green Valley Drive. We worship this baby, this child who was born of a virgin and was God in the flesh. We seek today to spread this message throughout the world.
The light of God is shining in our midst. He is Jesus, which means Jehovah Saves. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is the Wonderful Counselor. Jesus told his disciples about this Counselor, or sometimes translated Comforter. John wrote down the messages about the Holy Spirit in his version of the gospel story. He is God with us. He is the Prince of Peace who brings peace to our souls.
He brings peace with God by paying the price for our sin as he gave Himself on the Cross of Calvary. He brings peace within our hearts as we come to realize that we are forgiven and loved by God forever and always. HE brings peace as we learn to get along with one another and forgive as we have been forgiven.
In Matthew's gospel Jesus's reminds us of the prophecy of Isaiah and the coming of the child who would be king, but not just king, the Eternal God. This God/man taught us to pray:
9 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 'Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 'Give us this day our daily bread. 12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]'
The Kingdom comes with the coming of the child that is born to us. The kingdom comes to us today as the Spirit of God, the Wonderful Counselor, calls us to put our trust in God and invite Him to come and live within us. When we believe in our hearts that God came into the world as this baby who grew up, gave His life, was buried, and rose again... when we believe this, and we confess Him as the Lord of our lives we are born into this kingdom. We are citizens of heaven and not just citizens of this world. We are the children of God.
But then the message of Isaiah moves on to speak of judgement and war and the chastisement of God on His people. Pick up in verse 8:
8 The Lord sends a message against Jacob, and it falls on Israel. 9 And all the people know it, that is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart: 10 "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will replace them with cedars."
11 Therefore the Lord raises against them adversaries from Rezin, and spurs their enemies on, 12 the Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; and they devour Israel with gaping jaws.
In spite of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out.
13 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the Lord of hosts. 14 So the Lord cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. 15 The head is the elder and honorable man, And the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. 16 For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion. 17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; for every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out.
18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briars and thorns; it even sets the thickets of the forest aflame, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. 19 By the fury of the Lord of hosts the land is burned up, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no man spares his brother. 20 And they slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; each of them eats the flesh of his own arm. 21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they are against Judah. In spite of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out. NASB
Why did Isaiah bring this word to Israel and Judah? It was their pride and arrogance of heart as he made clear in verse 9. “We will rebuild... we will replace the sycamores with cedars.”
This people had turned their backs on God (see verse 13). They refused to seek the Lord.
Lest we forget, God's message to us today, is that we must rely on Him for our salvation. We cannot repair the land on our own. We cannot even save ourselves. It is only as we learn to rely upon God and seek Him with our whole hearts that we have the hope and peace that is offered.
God wants all to be saved, as Peter stated in his letters to the church. He does not want anyone to be lost, but He will not abdicate the throne. He cannot. If He did, all would be lost. He must insist on being the Lord of our lives.
This message that God loves us and He is our Lord is not just a message for today. It has been God's message to mankind forever and always. All that He does is to draw us to Himself.
This beautiful prophetic message, that has been loved by God's people ever since Isaiah penned the words are words of hope and words of warning. This has always been God's message and always will be.
We put our trust in Him, giving up our desire to go our own way. Seeking Him and loving Him with all our hearts.
Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor... All these names of God help us to clearly hear the message. Will you accept Him today?