Tabletalk Devotions with R.C. Sproul - Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The King Shall Come
Isaiah 9:6–7 “For to us a child is born…and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (v. 6).
Without a doubt, King David ushered in a golden age during the old covenant period (1 Chron. 18:14). This humble son of Jesse transformed Israel from a confederacy of tribes into a major power (2 Sam. 5), a remarkable achievement given the size of the country and the threats it faced as a place of strategic importance. He who controlled Palestine, a land bridge connecting Africa, Europe, and Asia, controlled commerce in the ancient Near East.
During the reign of David’s son Solomon, things began falling apart as the king was led into idolatry (1 Kings 11). Eventually the kingdom was divided in two (12:16–20) and suffered, for the most part, under the reign of incompetent, godless, and foolish rulers. World powers including Assyria, Babylon, and Persia conquered the land and became the de facto kings of Palestine. Understandably, the people longed for a return to the golden age, a return of a king like David who would bring in an era of peace, justice, and security. This longing would be fulfilled in the Messiah, the “anointed one” (Amos 9:11–15).
Today’s passage is a prophecy regarding what was to come after the Assyrian invasion of Israel and Judah. God’s people are told that they will not suffer under judgment forever; He will send a deliverer, a Son of David beyond compare.
This child will one day have the government “upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6). Anyone in leadership knows what a burden that can be. Good leaders understand the responsibility of taking care of their followers. Yet this child will shoulder this office well. He will also be an “Everlasting Father,” an image that tells us the Son of David will not look out for His own interests alone. Rather, like any good father, He will put the needs of His children first and work for their benefit. We have every reason to be confident that He will succeed, for He is also “Wonderful Counselor.” The Hebrew term for counselor is the same term used of the king’s most trusted advisor. This Son of David has no need for counsel. As wisdom incarnate (1 Cor. 1:24), He is His own advisor.
We know this Son of David is Christ Jesus Himself, the “Mighty God,” the warrior who has defeated all the powers of death and hell (Rev. 1:1–18).
Coram deo: Living before the face of God
Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” for all those who come to Him on His terms. Sometimes, however, we find that we are not at peace with those who refuse to follow Him. This is because the Prince of Peace bears a sword — love and obedience to Him is unacceptable to those who hate Him, and they will often be hostile to us (Matt. 10:34–39). When this happens, we must hold to the truth and never compromise it for the sake of a peace that cannot last.