Isaiah 9 has the prophet continuing to talk about the hardship that lies ahead for God’s people. But in his prophecy, he also gives hope for the tribes of the north. The northern regions of the Promised Land – around the Sea of Galilee – were the most severely ravaged when the Assyrians invaded from the north. The promise is that this land, once seemingly lightly esteemed by the Lord, will one day have a special blessing. They will be the first to see the light of the Messiah. God hasn’t forgotten them.
As Isaiah prophecies about the coming Messiah and the victory He will bring, He gives the people a reminder of Gideon and the victory at Midian. Just as wonderfully complete, joyous, and victorious as Gideon’s victory over Midian was, this is the same kind of victory the Messiah will enjoy and give. Jesus is coming (Messiah) and will change everything. Like the battle was over in Midian, and “every boot of the tramping warrior….every garment rolled in blood will be burned”, that’s what Jesus arrival will be like. Complete victory. Total victory. Eternal victory!
Isaiah prophecies the coming Messiah clearly and boldly. “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”. The prophecy of the birth of Messiah reminds Israel that the victory-bringing Messiah would be a man. A child has to be born. God could have swooped in and been Savior, but it would not have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. This was always God’s plan, done God’s way.
Isaiah wrote that “the government shall be upon His shoulder”. Gayle Erwin writes about the government God promises, both ultimately and right now:
What might such a government look like? First of all, it would look like its king. Politicians of this day look for what they can get from you. Jesus looks for what He can do for you.
- Leaders of this day surround themselves with servants. Jesus surrounds us with His servanthood.
- Leaders of this day use their power to build their empire. Jesus uses his power to wash our feet and make us clean and comfortable.
- Leaders of this day trade their influence for money. God so loved that he gave . . .
- Generals of this day need regular wars to keep their weapons and skills up to date and insure their own advancement. Jesus brings peace and rest to hearts.
- The higher the plane of importance one reaches in this world, the more inaccessible he becomes. Jesus was Emanuel, “God with us.”
- Leaders of this day are desperate to be seen and heard. Jesus sought anonymity so He could be useful.
Obviously, Jesus is not in charge of the halls of Washington, London, Moscow, Baghdad, Paris or Bonn. So, how can we ever believe the “government will be upon His shoulders”? Or is He? Actually, His government shows its workings in wonderful ways.
Whenever I see someone who miraculously leaves a life of drugs or alcohol and is restored to his family and work, I can see that he is now governed by God.
- Whenever I see loving Christians gently caring for orphans and those rejected by family, I know I am watching people governed by God.
- Whenever I see people eagerly learning the Bible and joyously praising, I know who the governor is.
- Whenever I see people give up lucrative careers simply to go and share the Good News of Jesus, I know they are governed by God.
- When I see pastors carefully teach and lead the flock God has given them, I know they are getting signals from the great King.
- When I see people leave family to live and teach in distant lands because they love the people who have not heard, I know they are governed by God.
Isaiah painted a picture of the Messiah to come. He did, and God’s plan is well under way. He is in control of all things now whether we can see and understand His plan or not!