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Longing for the Warrior-God
In the days of Isaiah, peace was becoming a difficult concept. The political tensions were growing between the surrounding empires, military invasion was becoming more and more inevitable, and God’s people, both in the northern and southern kingdoms, were living unfaithfully. Even worse, the kings of Israel and Judah were becoming increasingly corrupt, so there was little hope for the people. What they needed desperately was a sign from God, some kind of intervention that would change the course of their national trajectory.
Into those dark times, God gave his prophet visions of peace and renewal that revolved around special children being born. And the names of those children were especially important. Whether Shear-Jashub (7:3), Immanuel (7:14), or Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:3), the names served as signs of the hope to come. So, it is noteworthy, by the time we get to chapter 9 of Isaiah’s prophecy, that a child was promised, from the line of David (9:7), who would be known by a four-fold name: something often translated as, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). The titles in the name were less likely to be ascribed to the child himself, and more representative of the God whom the child would serve. And all these titles were directly tied to how Yahweh, the God of Israel, would bring about peace for his people.
The name “Mighty God” demonstrates God’s strength over his enemies. It is used later in Isaiah in reference to how God will bring his people back to himself (10:21), and to his role as a triumphant warrior (42:13). In this way, the peace that God’s people are longing for is only possible if their God is strong enough to defeat their enemies, and if the ruler God raises up is utterly dependent upon him.
Both of these truths are represented for us in Jesus the Christ. In his day, the “mighty God” overthrew the false powers of corrupted governments, Satanic misguidance, and death itself, while Jesus, the King of the Jews, was completely faithful to his heavenly Father. So, this Advent season, may we long for the warrior-God who will one day stamp out all the powers that still oppress us, and may we daily follow him according to the faithfulness of Jesus.
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