/ Prince of Peace in Isaiah / Andrew Kerr

Prince of Peace

Taken out of context this title seems quite bland. Read through historical eyes Christ's claim is quite remarkable.

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 - Isaiah 9:6

In BC 735, Palestine was a war-zone. Since the days of Rehoboam the northern tribes were hostile. To resist the Assyrian threat, they formed an alliance with Syria.

Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it," thus says the Lord GOD: "'It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass - Isaiah 7:5-7

When Ahaz didn't play ball, they plotted to crown a puppet-king Tabeel. If this attack was foiled, an Assyrian crisis loomed - first Tiglath-Pileser, then later Shalmaneser IV and Sargon II (BC 722), invaded the Holy Land with devastating effects.

Behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel" - Isaiah 8:7-8

Hardly catching a breath, after promises of peace, oracles follow that signal regional turmoil, international upheaval and cosmic convulsion before final judgment.

Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth - Isaiah 24:17-21

The point is this - into the midst a tornado-alley of troubles and trauma, Isaiah injects a vision of final calm: like promised peace to Somme troops in trench wars.

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock - Isaiah 26:1-4

To be sure, the prophet concludes, with a repeated structural refrain, depriving the wicked of peace - the rebellious will remain restless.

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near," says the LORD, "and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked" - Isaiah 57:18-21 (see also 48:22 & 59:8)

Not so for the humble - by knowledge of God, through forgiven sins, the Lord of kings gives a Prince of Peace, in order to reconcile all things to Himself, in a land of bliss.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea - Isaiah 11:6-9

Outside, in nature, once red in tooth and claw, harmony is restored and hostility dissolved. Inside, in saints, there is peace perfect peace, as mind trust the LORD.

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. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this - Isaiah 9:7

So, externally, expect cultural upheaval and national crises. Internally, in personal trial or church split, adhere to faith, God's bliss is at hand, so live out Christ's bliss!

As you wait for His return, much exists to unsettle and perturb - the prophet gives this vision, regardless of circumstance, as means of grace to stay your mind in peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus - Philippians 4:4-7

Let this, precious saint, whatever you must face in the sovereign purpose of the Lord, be it sorrow, sickness or death, guard your mind in Christ in 2020 and beyond!

Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Pastor of Knockbracken in Belfast - Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul and Andrew, Lover of Skiing, Walker of Lucy (our Bernese Mountain Dog), with a Passion for OT - in Deep Need of Grace

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