Meditations On The Messiah - His Name

by Ray Hawkins

Whistling in the dark is supposed to be helpful but I find that it gives my position away! I don't want a whistle; I need something much more dependable. When overwhelmed by any type of darkness we need hope and a light. This is what Isaiah offers in this grand ninth chapter -- like the grand ninth symphony of Beethoven which climaxes in the Ode to Joy.

The prophet doesn't offer a whistle; he declares a Person.

The Nation was in the depths of darkness of military oppression. Isaiah calls them to shed their self-pity with a call to praise, praise empowered by faith in the Promised One. And so the Nation would be in line for a time of prosperity. The oppressor would be shattered and scattered and a new dimension of the covenant relationship would come into being.

How was this to be brought about?

Not with an angelic invasion from the heavens; not with the surging strength of storm or tempest; it is from a simple everyday occurrence that has far-reaching results: A CHILD IS BORN. Once again God does the dramatic thing in an undramatic manner. (Isaiah 9:1-7)

And on this Child depends not only Israel's destiny but the whole world's. Why did Isaiah record such an unspectacular event? Perhaps it was to make us realize that the Messiah is not an angel. Nor is He an alien. He is not some ghostly figure unrelated to flesh and blood. No, He is the second Adam. He is the promised Seed of Eve. He would know the limitations of humanity and yet at the same time be distinct in His person.

This mention of the Child is preceded by a mention earlier (7:14) of a baby. Surely this is not mere coincidence. The Almighty overruled so that Isaiah prepared the way for our grasp of the child by first hearing that "the virgin shall conceive ..." and that His name shall be Immanuel, which means God with us.

What a glorious sign! What an awesome event! What overwhelming grace and mercy! And especially when we read that same name applying to the Eternal! (8:8 and 10). It is as though Eternity is clothing itself in humanity to become the conquering Messiah.

Notice what the Child would be, as well as attain.

The government would be on His shoulders . The complex social, national and international pressures and problems would be His to carry. The energy and effectiveness for this task is seen in the statement: "The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

As we list the titles He wears, which are expressive of His person and manner, surely the sense of His majesty must seep into our souls and make us sing.

He is WONDERFUL. The Hebrew word for His name is Pele which expresses wonder, therefore He is WONDERFUL. He says and does wonderful things because He is just what His name says He is.

He is COUNSELLOR. He can perceive the unspoken cry of the heart and bestow the remedy. He is the Messiah who can still the storm on a lake or in the heart. His advice is an antidote to the anxious longings of our restless hearts.

He is MIGHTY GOD. This could cause disquiet to the holy-hearted, for the Messiah is wreathed in the title of God. The word 'Mighty' applies to the warrior nature of God who rises to defend His people. This is so appropriate to the One who is the 'Dragon slayer' as well as the scatterer of the heathen. That He should walk in such power as God is surely beyond our comprehension. But the significance is there, for it is reinforced by the next title.

He is EVERLASTING FATHER. The Child does not become this, rather it is as though He has always been it, EVERLASTING FATHER. It is not a title of state, but a statement of His Being. Surely as Isaiah penned these words the staggering implications must have overwhelmed him. Somehow or other, beyond and above the grasp of man's intellect, God would be personally involved in the governing of the longed-for Kingdom.

He is PRINCE OF PEACE. What the world cries out for, He is. As long as the world refuses Him, it spurns peace. The aura in which He moves is peace; the personality He expresses is peace; the reign He institutes is peace, whether in the heart when accepted by faith, or one day when enthroned in Zion He is obeyed; the atmosphere He creates is peace.

There are no conflicting allegiances, no perverted passions, no warring in the soul, no turmoil when he rules.

Isaiah does not give us much detail as to how this will come about. What we know, however, is that it is not achieved by family planning, educational scholarships or political lobbying. It is only from the zeal of the Lord. He has promised. He has pursued it. He has unleashed it. He calls upon each one of us to make it a reality in the depths of our being by faith in His Word.

My desire: prepare me O Lord for the coming of this Child. Grant me discernment to behold His arrival. Grant me the capacity to be humble enough to claim Him as my Messiah in fulfilment of your Word, and may He rule my life even before He rules from Zion.