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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day 9: The All-Sufficient Promised One

Today's Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7

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.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore. - Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV

The All-Sufficient Promised One

As my kids have gotten older, their Christmas wish lists have gotten much more specific and expensive. Their expectations of the satisfaction they'll get from their Christmas presents have also risen. Yet, if we're honest, don't we all know that most Christmas presents end up under-performing? Very few gifts we receive in this life ever seem to live up to the expectations we have for them.

One Christmas gift is different and truly all-sufficient. In Isaiah 9:6-7, we see how all-sufficient, satisfying and comprehensive the gift of Jesus is, Specifically, Isaiah tells us six things about Jesus that we need to believe and live this Christmas season and always -

1. "The government will be on his shoulders." Is anyone else really frustrated by the state of affairs in our government and around the world? Is anyone else looking at potential leaders and saying, "Is this the best we have?" The government is on His shoulders. We're not supposed to look to Washington DC or the State House for our hope and our security. We're not supposed to put our hope in politics or allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by politics. We are to trust that Jesus is upholding the world and He knows what He's doing.

The government is on His shoulders and He can carry the load of the universe because of who He is "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." These are Jesus' throne names, His titles as the One on whose shoulders the government rests.

2. He is the Wonderful Counselor. Jesus doesn't need to take advice from pundits, pollsters and politicians because He is Wisdom. As such, He rules with wisdom and can counsel us with His perfect wisdom. If we need counsel and wisdom, we must seek it from Him. Through His Word, He who is Wisdom and the Wonderful Counselor tells us the truth that we most need to hear.

3. He is the Mighty God. This title reveals Jesus' power and strength. Just as He does not need advice from anyone, He also does not need help from anyone. He is all-powerful, eternally and infinitely strong. No one can defeat Him or challenge Him. Not only that, but "The LORD gives strength to his people (Ps. 29:11)." Yes, "the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people (Ps. 68:35)." When you are weak and come to the end of your own strength, you are in a good place. Look to Him in faith, in prayer, in praise, in expectant hope. He will strengthen your failing hands and empower you to do His work in His way.

4. He is our Everlasting Father. Our culture is being crushed under the weight of fatherlessness. So many children are growing up without a father. Even those who have fathers often suffer abuse and neglect at their hands. The Biblical idea of Father - one who loves, strengthens, supplies, protects, disciplines, instructs - is completely absent from many people's real life experience. In Jesus, we have One who is all of these things and more to a degree that no human father could ever hope to attain. You've never been truly fathered until you know Jesus as "Everlasting Father." He will teach you. He will provide for you. Yes, He will also discipline you in love for your own good. He will shows you how to walk in His footsteps and He will never leave you.

5. He is the Prince of Peace. Oh, when will we ever know true peace? The uprisings in the Middle East, known as "the Arab Spring," are quickly giving way to the rise of Islamic radicalism that threatens to deepen the hostile divide between nations. In our own lives, competing desires, conflicting agendas, confused ideas and frustrated hopes have left us without any peace. We cannot know peace apart from the Prince of Peace. Only when he truly rules our lives and we will our minds with His Word, our hearts with His desires and our lives with His priorities do we begin to see the fruit of peace in our lives. To search for peace anywhere else is simply to search in vain.

6. His rule will never end. Even the best human rulers eventually die and leave their kingdoms in the hands of others, who are usually not as good. Jesus is the best king and He rules forever!

Do you know this Jesus? He's so much more than the cute baby in the manger. He's more than a line in a familiar carol. he is the reigning King of kings and Lord of lords - Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Knowing Him and living life with Him is more important than baking that next batch of cookies or getting that great deal on the special present.

Our Advent lesson for today is to worship the greatest King. Get alone with Him. Get on your knees and in His word. Read and re-read the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke and then John 1. Fill your mind with the wonder of His coming and let His loving rule fill your life and draw you into His kingdom. I won't promise you that all your problems will disappear, but you will face them with the Mighty God ruling your heart as the Prince of Peace.

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