Isaiah 9:1-7

Whenever you receive a guarantee, remember that it is only as reliable as the one offering it.

Consider Isaiah 9:1-7, one of my favorite passages about the coming Messiah.

What magnificent promises it gives about Him! It says He will be:

  • light in our deepest darkness;
  • joy greater, richer, and wilder than anything we can imagine;
  • complete freedom from everything that binds us;
  • an eternal ruler who is Himself: wisdom (“Wonderful Counselor”), unlimited power (“Mighty God”), unfailing love (“Everlasting Father”), and complete peace and well-being (“Prince of Peace”)

God then closes all His magnificent promises about His Messiah with this guarantee: “The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (v.7b). Look carefully at that guarantee.

Zeal is a strong emotion, sometimes translated “love”, sometimes “jealousy”. It is that deep, burning, unquenchable fire of love that burns in the heart of God toward us, His children. Realize that love is as weak or as strong as its source. Despite our passionate promises, human love is at times selfish, shallow, and wavering. It is as weak as we are. Since we are flawed and inconsistent, so is our love. But God’s love is as intense, powerful, and unchanging as He is. Who can imagine the eternal, unquenchable fire of love burning in the heart of Almighty God!

The next term in the guarantee is the word LORD; in the original Hebrew, “Yahweh”. The scriptures give us many “names” for God, many descriptions of Who He is and what He is like. “Yahweh” is God’s name for Himself. It’s related to the name He uses in Exodus 3, in the story of the burning bush. He has just called Moses to an awesome task. He is sending him to the Israelites to promise that their God is about to free them from the most powerful ruler on earth. Moses is apprehensive about the assignment, so he says, “The people will ask who sent me. How should I answer them?” God responds to Moses with a form of the name “Yahweh”. He tells Moses, “If they want a name for me, if they want to summarize me with a label, give them this one: ‘I AM WHO I AM’” (v.14).

The next word, Almighty, is actually the Hebrew word “sabaoth”. It sounds similar to the word “sabbath”, but there’s no relation. We hear the word in verse 2 of Martin Luther’s stirring hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”:

Lord Sabaoth, His name;
From age to age the same;
And He must win the battle.

“Sabaoth” means “hosts” or “armies”. So “Lord Sabaoth” is “Lord of hosts”, or “Lord of all the heavenly armies”. Imagine that. Picture the mightiest army on earth, spread out in vast array, complete with all its weaponry. Then try to picture “the Lord of all the heavenly armies”. See Him standing there, with all the unimaginable powers of heaven behind Him, waiting at His command!

So our guarantee can be read this way: “The deep, burning, unquenchable, unchangeable love of I AM WHO I AM, Lord of all the heavenly armies will accomplish this.” Now that’s a guarantee!

Remember, guarantees are as reliable as the one offering them. Regarding human beings, Isaiah 2:22 says,

Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

Psalm 146:3-4 says,

Do not trust…in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Don’t rely on human beings for anything permanent. We and all our plans and best intentions are always just one breath from extinction.

But with God, His mightiest works show us only the fringes of His robe. The vastness of the universe gives us but a faint whisper of Him (Job 26:14). Who can fathom the rock-solid certainty of a guarantee signed by the unchanging love of Yahweh, I AM WHO I AM, Lord of all the heavenly armies!

God has promised you that Jesus will be light, joy, and freedom beyond your wildest dreams. You can trust Him!

He says that Jesus will bring you all the wisdom, power, love, and peace of God. You can trust Him!

He calls you to seek only Jesus Christ and make His love your only treasure. You can trust Him!

He assures you that Jesus is the pearl of great price and urges you to eagerly turn loose of everything else to gain Him. You can trust Him!

You can grasp the promises of Almighty God and know that they will always be absolutely true. You can hold to them and live by them in the face of everything that life and death brings.

“All God’s promises are YES! in Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20, para.).

Our Brother is Lord of all things in
this world and
the next,
all things seen and unseen,
in heaven and earth.
We are secure and
extravagantly blessed in Him.

Hymn: All We Need

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