Forthright Magazine

The dawning of true peace

Isaiah’s message undoubtedly seemed to be ‘doom and gloom’ to those to whom he was writing. There was so much going wrong in the nation. King Ahaz had led Judah into idolatry and didn’t seem to really care. God was sending Assyria to take Israel into captivity and they would also come down into Judah. The future looked dismal. But (and there is a ‘but’) there was hope.

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan – The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:1-2 NIV)

They might have been in darkness but light was coming to those in darkness. What was the light that was about to dawn?

“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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness 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.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The light was going to come in the form of a child. But he was not going to be just any child. This was a child who would grow up to rule. In fact he would not only sit on David’s throne but he would form a great kingdom of peace that would never end. He would establish justice and righteousness forever.

From the descriptions we can see that this child would be more than human: he would be deity, “Mighty God”. We realise that Isaiah was talking about the coming Messiah, the Anointed One. Although this was still around seven hundred years in future from the time Isaiah wrote, this was still the glimmer of hope that a nation who had lived in turmoil most of their existence needed.

When the Messiah came he was ‘Prince of Peace’. He came to bring ultimate peace to all who would follow him. This was a peace between God and man, which the angels announced at his birth: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14).

It is when we have peace with God that peace with other people is possible. The solution to the turmoil we face in the world is not more treaties but the real peace that only Jesus can bring. This peace is possible when both sides are willing to acknowledge God as sovereign to follow him in their lives. This is not a peace like what we find in the world, which is fragile at the best of times. This is true peace. This is what Jesus came to give.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid…I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 14:27; 16:33)

The world brings turmoil and fear. Only Jesus can bring us the ultimate peace that will last for eternity. This is available to all who become part of his kingdom, a spiritual kingdom that will never end.

Photo of dawn in Netherburn, Scotland, by Jon Galloway.

Readings for next week: Isaiah 1-9


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