Last week Marissa walked us through the first of Isaiah’s prophetic descriptions of the coming Messiah – Wonderful Counselor – and we learned of one of the practical purposes of His coming. This week, I’ll lead us through the second – Mighty God.
Reread Isaiah 9:2-7, giving special attention to our focal point in verse 6.
Whenever I’ve read this passage, one question that has repeatedly crossed my mind is, “Why are these names listed in this order?” Have you ever wondered that?
Mighty God, it seems, should come first! Is that not the most important of His descriptions? He’s GOD, after all. Don’t we need to understand that before we can move on to anything else? I’ve realized something, though, that might help you if you get hung up on this point, too. To get there, read these verses from the Gospel of Luke: 1:13, 1:30, 2:10.
What theme do you notice here?
These are just a few instances of angels delivering the same message, these few within the Christmas story itself. Human instinct – when something unexpected or confusing happens – leads us to fear. We are uncomfortable with what we don’t understand, and that discomfort leads us to a defensive stance. God – being our Creator – understands this reflex and seems to first want to disarm our knee-jerk reactions before He delivers heavy news.
Therefore, when God first speaks (through Isaiah) of the coming Savior, He describes Him as our Wonderful Counselor. He tells of one who would come to help, lead, and guide us – not condemn, hurt, or shame us. Hearing that should naturally ease our minds and prepare us for the announcement that’s coming next.
“…he will be called…Mighty God.”
As we often do here at HFL, let’s examine the original words Isaiah spoke so that we can have a clearer understanding of the message he was delivering.
The Hebrew word for mighty as used in Isaiah 6 is gibbor. This word can be used in two forms. As an adjective, it translates to the English “strong, valiant, and powerful”. As a noun, it means “warrior” or “champion”.
You may know that there are numerous names for God Himself in Scripture, each used to describe a particular attribute of the character of God. (We see this pattern within Isaiah 6 itself!) The word “God,” as we read it here, is the Hebrew word ’el. This particular word for God, in itself, means “mighty one.”
And the English definition of mighty? “Possessing great or impressive power or strength, especially on account of size.”
So….essentially, Isaiah’s description is redundant. “He will be called Strong, Valiant, Powerful, Mighty Warrior God.”
Well then. There can be no mistake what God wants us to know about the coming Messiah: He will carry the full might of God Himself. This Wonderful Counselor to come – the One who would finally deliver God’s people from darkness – would come in the majestic power of a God in full warrior mode.
That undoubtedly creates a certain kind of image in your mind. What does that look like?
Now….remember what that Mighty God actually looked like when He entered the world. A tiny, helpless, shivering baby boy. He – the God who Himself created Mary’s womb – emerged from her body no different from any of us. He – the God who held the stars in His hands – reached up and, with the newborn reflexes of His human creation, wrapped his finger around that of His mother.
The God of the Universe – the Mighty God the world had longed for and anticipated with bated breath – came not as a celebrated warrior. He did not ride in on a warhorse, and was not celebrated with shouts at the city gates as He entered. Instead, this Mighty God of ours snuck into town under the cloak of night, welcomed into the world only by the agonizing shouts of his mother in the throes of childbirth. He came not with the victorious cry of a battle-worn champion, but with the desperate cry of a sleepy, hungry infant child.
No, this certainly was not what Israel expected. Is it any wonder, then, that so few recognized Him?
Meditate today on the contrast between the all-powerful, all-mighty God of the Universe… and the way He came to us. Why would He do that? What could He possibly want to tell us by coming that way?
Come back later this week for more on this. I can’t wait to go deeper into this with you.
And if you’re more of a pen to paper type person, don’t forget to print out the PDF below & follow along with us.