November 29, 2015

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

This is an extremely well-known passage, and rightly so, because it is very important. There are all sorts of implications and ramifications to it, but I’d like to focus on one in particular. English translations, to my knowledge, all use the word “government” in this passage, but to us today that conjures up images of politics and bureaucracy, and that is certainly not what this is talking about. In its place, the Japanese uses the word for sovereignty, that is, the right and authority to rule. To me that clicks far better, though the meaning isn’t so really different. The problem is not with the word, government, but with what we have allowed government to become. It is important to note that this speaks of the increase of His sovereignty. In other words, we don’t see everything submitted to Him at once, just as it says in Hebrews 2:8-9. The point is, “Hang in there, it’s coming.” Today we have every reason to be disgusted with all sorts of governments, on national and local levels. Our focus should be on the reality that the sovereignty of Christ will be manifested more and more, and our job is to make sure we are submitted to it. As we are submitted to Him, His sovereignty is manifested through us, but only to the degree we are faithfully obedient. Humanistic theocracies are a terrible idea, because we tend to get intoxicated with power, and that never ends well. Paul makes it clear that human governments are originally God’s idea, (Romans 13:1-7) however flawed they might be. That doesn’t mean we aren’t to work for their improvement! That said, the sovereignty is Christ’s, and we must not forget it.

I never used to be a particularly political person, but the events of the past few years have brought me into increasing involvement. As concerned as I am, I must remember that God has ultimate authority. I must never take things into my own hands, as did the recent shooter in the Planned Parenthood clinic. They were manifestly in violation of Biblical principles, but he was manifestly listening the the devil instead of the Holy Spirit as to how they should be stopped. When we “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33) that means submitting to His sovereignty in every area of our lives. When we truly do that, He takes care of everything else, just as He said.

Father, there is much that is upsetting about human government these days. Help me, help all Your children, look to You and trust You, submitting fully to the sovereignty of Christ so that indeed Your Name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done in and through us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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