“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
There has been a bit of a rash of babies being born where I live lately. Babies are born all the time, but I can quickly think of four that have arrived in the last couple of weeks in our little community. (In case you’re curious, girls are winning three-to-one.) The birth of a child is always a moment primed with hope and expectation. The possibilities before that little one are literally endless. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child whose expectations were even higher than usual.
When Isaiah was offering King Ahaz and the people of Israel a bit of hope after jumping all over him for his incorrigible unfaithfulness, this hope came in the form of a second birth announcement. The first birth announcement back in chapter 7 spoke of impending judgment. This one rounded things out with a bit of better news. Judgment would not be the end of the game. God would give the people a leader who was up to the task.
A child would be born. A Son would be given. But unlike the blank slate of expectations that is common to most children, this little boy’s shoes would be all sized out for him from the get go. And my what big shoes they would be.
The government would rest on his shoulders. He would be born into leadership of the highest order. More than that, He would be born to rule. But this was no mere child of entitlement. No, He would be born for us. He would not rule as men do, using their power for selfish gain, enabling their friends and punishing their foes. He would not wield his power to advance His own interests. He would use it all to our benefit.
The titles He would bear would speak to the significance of His rule and reign for us. He would be called Wonderful Counselor. His wisdom would know no equal. He would always be able to see the right path and be both able and willing to offer insight into how to walk it with poise and grace. Whenever we would run into a quandary, we could go to Him and receive what we needed to keep moving forward in the direction that would lead to the greatest flourishing of life.
He would be called Mighty God. All the power and majesty of the One who created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them would be at His disposal. There would be nothing He could not do. No force in this world would be nearly strong enough to overcome Him. All those who sought refuge in Him would find themselves completely shielded from any that sought to do them harm.
And, He would be a safe refuge because He would also be called Eternal Father. There are two parts to this title. First, He would be eternal. He would come from antiquity. There had never been a time when He was not. As long as there has been, He has been too. Second, He is father. All the things a perfect father should be, He is to the nth degree. He is a teacher, a safe harbor, one who challenges, who comforts, who afflicts with wisdom and grace when necessary, who disciplines and guides, who accepts yet always calls forward to more, and the list goes on from here. And, because He is eternal, He has always been all of these things and always will be them.
Last, but certainly not least, He would be called Prince of Peace. In Him all conflicts would find their end. All strivings would cease. Wholeness would define those who found themselves firmly under His reign. Things would be as they were designed to be.
Here’s the good news we celebrate at Christmas: This child is no longer merely a hope of prophecy; He has come and He is here. Jesus was born and demonstrated Himself to be all of these things and more. We celebrate the birth of a baby—of one who was humble and vulnerable, weak and utterly dependent—but that child was the king of kings at whose feet men of both high and low stature would bow before He was old enough to string together intelligible sentences. He could not do a single thing for Himself and yet angels would sing His praises from the heavens.
As you continue on in this season of Advent, make sure you don’t forget the real glory of the one for whom you are preparing. He is all you will ever need and more than you ever dreamed. He is the glorious Lord of Creation, and the humble child who knew need. He is worthy of your life, love, and total devotion. May you give them freely and experience the riches only He can bring.