For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this! - Isaiah 9:6-7
When politicians run for office, few but the most fervent partisans take their promises seriously. A great gulf often separates political promises from reliable guarantees.
We do not know whether the people in Isaiah’s time had arrived at such a point of skepticism, but we do know that they had little reason for confidence. The glory days of David and Solomon were long gone; the Assyrian hordes were knocking on the door. The future looked gloomy. Then the Lord spoke through Isaiah.
God promised his people that their land would be overrun and that the formerly great nation of Israel would be left like “a stump” in the land (6:13). But the term stump, while full of dire predictions, held a glimmer of hope: The people knew that a pruned stump would in time sprout, flourish, and bear fruit. “The stump will be a holy seed that will grow again” (6:13).
Later, God promised that the dynasty of David would not disappear—it would be overrun, but it would be resurrected and would spread across the world, bringing peace and prosperity, stretching into eternity (9:1-7). A universal, everlasting kingdom! The government of this new kingdom would “rest on” the shoulders of a “child,” a most unusual child who would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).
The Israelites might have been tempted to think that Isaiah had lost touch with reality. They could expect not only survival but revival? This would happen through a child who would demonstrate divine qualities? Unbelievable. But Isaiah had not lost touch with reality—he had been in touch with the author of reality! And the reality is that this child’s “ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice. . . . The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” (9:7).
When God makes passionate guarantees, sane people sit up and take note. God is not a politician running for office—his pronouncements warrant a better response than skepticism or dismissal. When he speaks, men should listen. History shows that God does what he says he will do—when he guarantees something with “passionate commitment,” he comes through. Unlike any politician, God has the power to accomplish what he promises. In his guarantee we find the confidence to banish the darkness of despair—we find hope in an otherwise hopeless world.
For Further Study: Isaiah 9:1-7
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.