Sermons from Lone Rock Bible Church
Stevensville, MT
Index of LRBC Sermons:
January 1, 2006

God’s Government
Isaiah 9:6-7

Many people of many lands the world over have come to believe that their hope lies in their nation’s government. The Bible is clear, however, that there is but one government in which to hope. It is worldwide and will be ruled by His Messiah! Let’s zoom in on Isaiah 9 one more time and look at:

1. The zeal of the Lord
2. Man’s leaders
3. God’s leader
4. David’s resume
5. Making it happen

For the most part, we will be talking about verse 7. I think this has to be highly appropriate for a new year. This could be the year! Jesus could reign, literally, fully, and visibly. This kingdom will never, ever end. It is a certainty in the economy of God. I am just looking forward to experiencing it.

These verses tell the story in the names of Jesus. It is almost as if the multiple names of Jesus are given in verse 6. It talks about “a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders;” and then we have the list of His names. Then the Bible comes back in verse 7 to talk about that government that will rest upon His shoulders.

6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Had we lived long ago in ancient Babylon, our lives would have revolved around the king. The most famous and most renowned king of Babylon was King Nebuchadnezzar. He was king of an empire, which basically made him number one guy in the world. When the king had a good day that was a good thing. If the king had a bad day, “Katy bar the door.” Things could get rough. Heads could roll.

We would get out under those circumstances and we would read the Babylon Tribune, or whatever. The front page would be all the events of the day, probably conquests, probably the latest tax scales, maybe a list of those who had met their doom, at the hands of the king, out of retribution. We would live and die based on what was happening in that local government arena.

We may not like it but we would not be able to change it. It would be life to us, as it was to people long ago. Then one night Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream, the dream is recorded in Daniel 2. The Bible very clearly said the dream deeply troubled the king. When the king is deeply troubled, so is the kingdom. Something has to give. The king was so troubled that sleep fled from him and he absolutely had to understand what this dream was about. It was not your conventional dream like we will occasionally get. This dream gripped him and shook him and alarmed him to the core. He had to know what it meant. So he called in the local conjurers, demanded to know from them the dream and the interpretation. They could not provide the dream, so they could not provide the other. It was here that his blood pressure rose and he said, “Ok, then you die.”

In the narrative in Daniel 2, there was one who said, “King, you put your finger right on the problem. No one on earth can tell you that dream, but God does not live here and He can. He gave it to you and He will tell it to you.” Through God’s agent in Babylon, Daniel the exile, Nebuchadnezzar heard the dream.

We have probably seen the dream of Nebuchadnezzar graphically portrayed in Sunday school or Vacation Bible School  -- the statue of a tall impressive man whose body is made up of four different kinds of metals. That is something memorable, but I wonder if we remember what happened to that statue.

The verse in Daniel 2 is the point of Isaiah 9:7. They are in concert, if you will. In Daniel 2, the statue collapses and the stone becomes a mountain. It keeps growing bigger and bigger until it fills the whole earth. The interpretation of that stone is impressive. The interpretation of that stone is verse 44:

44"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

The dream is true, Daniel says. The interpretation is trustworthy. It is a done deal to God.

Nebuchadnezzar needed a tune-up in his theology. He was rather full of himself, and that will come out in the fourth chapter of Daniel. What he really needed was a much bigger, more accurate view of the living God. This would bring him to a state of humility. The bigger God is, the more we realize we are not. Humility will lead to a right relationship with the God with whom we have to do. That will give us peace. Nebuchadnezzar needed a bigger and more accurate view of God. So do we, all the time. I hope this verse in Isaiah will contribute to that.

Even as Christians, because of our flesh and our poorly grooved brains, we so often live, in a practical sense, as though God were not that big a deal. Some would say that God is distant, that He exists but He just wound up this created order and left. The Bible says, no, He is not distant. Some would say God is in some sort of competitive contest with the devil -- the devil wins round one and God is storming back for round two, as though we are in some sort of a dualism. The Bible says no. We read nowhere in Scripture that this eternal kingdom, that is discussed, is in any sense up for grabs, not at all. God is not distant. God is not dualistic. Sometimes we think God has other things on His mind, He is distracted, He cannot possibly care or perhaps be interested enough to deal at the level of the individual. The Bible says no, not true at all. If that is your God, first of all He is not the God of the Bible and secondly, He is irrelevant anyway. If he is too small, he is not God.

The Bible calls us back to the God who is vast and yet who is close, the God of all history, from beginning to end and all points in between, the God who is intimately involved in all that we do.

1. The zeal of the Lord

What I want to begin with is this whole notion about “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.” At first glance, maybe this seems like a tagline or something. OK, so God is going to do this. There is more to it than that. It draws on the character of God as His motivation for seeing to it that history, which He began, He also will end. He is motivated to do this. This is not like a clock that He wound up and set on a shelf and left, and is off somewhere else doing something or other. No, He is motivated.

There are a couple passages in the Bible, one just prior to Isaiah’s time, in Joel 2, talking about the fact that one day, after God is finished with judgment, God will restore. The word is used here in Joel 2:18

18Then the LORD will be zealous for His land
And will have pity on His people.

The zeal of God is an attribute, it is a part of His character. It is an element of His emotional constitution. It means God’s emotional fervor for His land and His people. He is enthusiastically engaged in what He is about. He is devoted to it from His heart.

In the book of Zechariah, speaking of the Lord Himself, an angel said, "Proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion.”

The word is the same -- jealous and zealous. They are the same Hebrew word. They have to do with emotional fervor. When we use the word, something for which we are jealous is something we have and intend to keep. Zeal is something we do not have and intend to get. Both words are used here to describe the character of God. In other words, what is His, He fully intends to retain and do all He wishes to do with, and He is emotionally connected with it and will see it through. Heart always follows investment.

Where does this zeal come from? I have a secret verse that I discovered in Deuteronomy 7. It helps us understand what God is about. Whenever God does something, it is always an expression of who He is. God always acts in perfect accord with His character, with who He is. He does not just fly off the handle and do random stuff. He is always focused and always deliberate and He is never late.

In Deuteronomy 7, Moses is preparing to go to glory and turn the people over to Joshua to take them on into the Promised Land. He has seen a lot in 40 years of wilderness wandering, Moses, if nothing else, has become quite a student of the human heart. He is looking at the people of Israel. They are poised on the east bank of the Jordan River preparing to occupy a land which they do not deserve, wells they did not dig, cities they did not built. Moses says this:

6"For you are a holy people to the LORD your God;

That does not mean you lead pristine, lily-white lives. That means you are special, set apart, unique to God.

the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Of all these tribes and clans and groups and nations -- this one is mine. I have chosen them, making them special, sanctifying them, setting them apart as holy.

Between verses 6 and 7 people are thinking, “That must make me pretty all right, I must in some sense deserve this special status.” Our pride stands up at every opportunity to say “Yes.”  Moses said:

7"The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

God did not look and say, “Oh, what a special bunch! I think I want them. They are pretty phenomenal.

8but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers,

God made a promise and His zeal is for His own integrity in keeping the promise. He says “I will do what I say I will do.”

the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

9"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

God made a promise. The book of Hebrews reminds us that God swore an oath to fulfill what He said He will do based on His own words. God is determined to populate heaven (Revelation 21 and 22). That’s where it is going. This is an expression of His zeal. He will bring in this kingdom. His reputation depends on it and that makes Him quite zealous. That’s where it is going. It is God’s promise, God’s oath.

In the book of Hebrews chapter 6, His zeal is to keep His word and if He keeps His word, brothers and sisters -- His word with regard to you and me -- that’s why the New Testament says He is an anchor to our soul. In Him keeping His word is our salvation. We want Him to keep His word. Not based on how wonderful or attractive or prosperous or productive we are, nor how perhaps downcast or downtrodden or sad we are -- none of these things. He can address each of those states of being in our lives but the main point is, He is going to keep His word. He is a God of integrity, of promise, and He will keep it. As He keeps it, we are saved. We are part of it. It’s about Him first, about us second. And I am glad we are second.

2. Man’s leaders

We need to digress before we get into the Davidic kingdom and government and throne and so forth, and pause for just a second to consider human leadership, man’s leaders. Arguably, Winston Churchill was the greatest leader of the western world in the 20th century. He proved himself in several wars, including the First World War as Lord of the Admiralty in Great Britain. When the time came to stop the Nazi juggernaut from rolling west across Europe, the people of England clamored for Churchill. He rose to the occasion, became prime minister and did a phenomenal job. He was a stalwart through the darkest times of the war. He could read the playing field. He understood who the Nazis were and where they were going, how badly Britain needed the United States, what to watch in Japan and in the Soviet Union. He was incredible. As a matter of fact, at the age of 25, his biography was being written. That’s how accomplished an individual he was.

In April of 1945, as it was clear the Nazis were losing and the allies were winning, the people of Great Britain voted him out, didn’t want him any more. To him, the quintessential human leader of all time, “See you. Go paint.” They sent him into retirement.

Oftentimes to you and me, we can get inordinately wrapped up in our human leaders, sometimes to serious detriment. I believe history and the Bible would encourage us to be cautious and to be realistic at that level. All human leaders, past or present, the good ones, the not so good ones, the capable ones or the inept ones, the ones who were in their position for a long time or a short time, the ones who were elected by a popular vote or those who were in some other fashion were appointed -- all of them were chosen by human means, chosen for humanistic purposes. One would look for a needle in a haystack trying to find a leader of any renown, who was put in position in order to advance the agenda of the God of heaven. That would be hard to find. Human means, human purposes are always temporary, always fall short. None are perfect and also will be judged variously by history. In other words, some will love them, some will hate them.

So what do we really have? Keep in mind that under the providential hand of God, He gives us leaders. The Bible bears that out with leaders of His own choosing. Why? Perhaps to reflect God’s virtue. Perhaps on the other hand, to remind us of our limitations and our need of Him as our real leader.

3. God’s leader

Human leadership as good and as effective as it can sometimes be, does not stack up to what the Bible describes in Isaiah 9 of God’s leader. All the liabilities of human kind do not touch God’s leader. He has no such liabilities. There will no end to the increase of his government. Peace, righteousness, justice, and all these things will characterize God’s leader, who we will call Messiah. He is promised in Scripture, revealed over time. In other words, there was a gradual unveiling of the fact that God had a key man through whom He would fix everything and institute that everlasting kingdom, revealed over time, and redemptive.

God’s leader was not to advance anything human. God’s leader was to establish God’s agenda and in so doing redeem people from their fallen state. God has His best interest and our own as He appoints a leader, this Messiah. This Messiah was gradually revealed in Scripture, beginning in the Garden of Eden. In the 3rd chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and found themselves the object of a longstanding curse. God cursed the woman. God cursed the man. God cursed then the serpent, who had deceived them. As part of that curse in Genesis 3:15, God promises that yes, serpent, you are going to be crawling around and eating dust and no one is going to like you, but one day the seed of the woman will crush your head, and you will lose.

There is hope. Some day, somebody, some time, under some circumstances, is going to beat this nasty devil. That is Genesis 3. There are all kinds of things going on between Genesis 3 and 9, not the least being the flood of Noah. God judges the world. The world deserved it. The Bible is very clear about that and yet God preserved a family, Noah and three sons. Those three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth, became the human race in three various expressions of the human race. Ham, Shem, and Japheth -- the Caucasoid, the Negroid, and the Mongoloid are traceable to those three individuals.

What God points out through Noah in Genesis 9 that Shem, who became the father of the Semites, the Shemites, (they are the same) -- through Shem, Messiah would come. Of those three, narrowed to one and the others would bow to him. We follow in Scripture the course of the Semites or Shemites. It takes us to Genesis 12. Among them all, God calls out one. His name at the time was Abram. God made a promise to him saying this redemptive plan of Mine, this gradual unveiling -- you are the key guy. Through your seed, Abram, all the nations of the world will be blessed.

Abram said that sounds wonderful, Lord, and I believe you, and he did believe, but he had no sons. He was old and his wife was old and had never had children. So God said then I will create for you a child. Isaac was born miraculously, as though it were life from the dead. Abram acknowledged it as such. Isaac had a son named Jacob and Jacob then had 12 sons.

As the Bible continues in Genesis 49:10, of those twelve sons of Jacob, Judah was indicated as the one through whom this special individual would come.

In Deuteronomy 18, as the Bible continued on down through history, Moses informed the people that one day there would be a prophet like him who would arise and you really need to pay attention to him.

3. David’s resume

Time went by. Years went by. Ultimately, David was made king. In II Samuel 7, is where this whole business of the throne of David is begun. Keep in mind that all God’s people, all down through time, are watching and attentive. How is God going to fix this thing? We know He is going to do it. We know He is going to send a certain individual. We know it is going to be a Semite. We know it is going to be from the tribe of Judah, so all eyes are on Judah. How is He going to do it?

God spoke to King David in II Samuel 7:

12 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
13"He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

David -- you are the man. In your line, will this forever kingdom be established. So David’s name was immediately catapulted to prominence in the salvation history of this nation.

16"Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."

Everybody understood that whoever Messiah was would have to come through David. That is why in Matthew’s gospel we have the genealogy that takes us to David. In Luke’s gospel, we have the genealogy of Mary through David. David is the key guy. It is his house, his family and it narrows down to him.

Psalm 2 talks about how the nations of the world are all agitated against God and how they will put up this leader and they will put up that leader and will say, “Let’s throw off God’s restraints. Let’s get our own leaders going.” The Lord sits in heaven and looks at that and laughs them to scorn and says, “I already have my leader. It’s a done thing and I’m not going to put him where you think he ought to go. I’m going to put him where I think he ought to go -- Mount Zion in Jerusalem. That’s from where He will reign. Everybody understood that God’s king would come through the line of David and would reign from there.

In Psalm 2 it says His kingdom will never end. They made the link. The Psalm ends addressing these kings and says if you are smart you will bow to God’s king because He is the one who is not going away. He is one who will prevail.

So in Isaiah 9, to the faithful and attentive, it came as really no surprise when the announcement was made that a child would be born and a son would be given and the government would rest on His shoulders and there would be no end to his government or the increase of his throne in the house of David. That was what was expected. That’s where it was going. That would be God’s leader.

We go to the New Testament in chapter 1 of Matthew, where the angel is speaking to Joseph, husband of Mary. He appears to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David.” Do you see what is going on here? If nothing else, let’s understand together that God is all over this process, He is working this out with infinite precision, completely in control.

Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary. She is going to have a son. You shall call his name Jesus, Yeshua -- “Yahweh Saves” is what it means. Why? It is He who will save His people from their sins. How else would you have an everlasting kingdom in righteousness if it was characterized by sin? It has to be this way and Jesus will see to it.

In Matthew 2, wise men come from the east. We don’t know how many but at least two.

They show up and are looking for this king. They had seen a star in the east and they understood through their theology, if you will, mixed with what they had learned from the Jews who had lived among them for generations. They were comparing Scriptures and the Jews were telling them there was going to be an important guy show up some day. He is going to be the king. His kingdom will never end. He will make all the wrongs rights.

 The wise men’s religion said everybody has a star, in their minds every person had a corresponding star and the more virtuous the individual the brighter the star that corresponded to them. So they see this bright star in the direction the Jews had come from and said, “We have to go!” So they show up. They don’t know anything about Herod. They go in to ask directions. “Herod, where is he who was born king of the Jews?” They were right! “We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Herod didn’t like that. “I thought I was king of the Jews,” said Herod to himself. So they said we have to look into this. Interestingly, he gathers the priests and scribes and asks where the Messiah is supposed to be born. They come up with Micah 5:2, which says in Bethlehem of Judea.

Micah 5:2
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel

Luke 2 says that Joseph, for this tax, had to leave Nazareth up north and go to the city of David because he was of the lineage of David, of the house and family of David. So was Mary. And so they went down to Bethlehem, just like Micah said they were supposed to, in order to give birth to the King, as the Bible very clearly pointed out. The angel shows up to the shepherds and said we have good news. In the city of David is a Savior who is Messiah -- it’s all coming together, right on time -- who is Christ the Lord.

They take Jesus, as a baby, up to the temple to be dedicated. There is this old guy sitting there, named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and is looking for the consolation of Israel. It was revealed to him, by the Holy Spirit, that he was going to live long enough to see the Messiah. So he is sitting around the temple waiting for the Messiah and here comes Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. The Lord said, “That’s Him.” Simeon gives us what has come down through the years as the Benedictus. “Now I can depart in peace. My eyes have seen the king.“ We have a king, and it is all good, a king in the line of David.

David was a set-up. There is purpose in Bible history. King David was a preview. King David was a type. A preview of Messiah as the following points will indicate. There are four reasons making David as a preview.

First of all, he was chosen miraculously. He was chosen unconventionally by God. David was not like Saul. Saul stood up and stood out and people clamored for him. David was the last of eight brothers and he was tending sheep when Samuel came by the direction of God to pick out the next king. They did not even consider David as a candidate. But God did.  

The little four chapter book of Ruth talks about how it was that God brought David into being through unconventional means, through a Moabite woman, through an Amorite woman further back in history. God in His machinations works in such a way that David most unlikely becomes the king of Israel. Nobody could doubt that it was God doing this. This was not a conventional selection; it is God’s doing.

Secondly, David is labeled, in the book of  I Samuel, as a man after God’s own heart. David, in spite of all his foibles, was a man of incredible contradiction. He had his highs and he had his lows, but through it all he was a man after God’s own heart. That is expressed over and over again from a negative, depressing standpoint, to the high of exaltation throughout the book of Psalms of which David wrote the most number. David was a man after God’s own heart.

Third, David gets more press as an individual than anyone else in the Old Testament. There is more Scripture given to this individual in the Old Testament than to any other. David dominates biographically the Old Testament. He is the key guy, particularly once Moses was done.

Finally, and possibly the most significant, is that David established the greatest period in Israel’s history. David was king par excellence. There were a lot of kings. None of them came close to David. When he died and left his kingdom to Solomon, the Bible tells us in I Kings 4, that the borders of the land were the broadest they had ever been. Peace and prosperity were the order of the day. It was the perfect time to advance the proverbs of wisdom. God was truly acknowledged at that point, in that brief window of history, more than any other time. God’s country looked like it was supposed to, just for awhile. It was because of what God had done thorough David. He was the model king, in other words. David was a preview of Messiah.

5. Making it happen

How is God going to do this? How is God going to make it happen? I have heard it said before that somehow God is going to resurrect David. I don’t think so. The Bible says he is decayed and it is not necessary. I don’t believe David is going to come back some day and reign over a kingdom. I don’t believe it is necessary. The Scripture does not need to go there. Elijah did not come back literally. John the Baptist came back in the spirit and power of Elijah. Messiah will come back and reign as a David-like king, certainly, only on a much grander scale.

How is going to happen? Three ways.

First of all, by promise or prophecy. They are everywhere! Isaiah 9:7 -- we don’t need to go any further. He is going to do it. God is promising to make it happen. The prophetic ammunition through the Old Testament prophets is immense. Messiah will return and will do what God has sent Him to do. It is promised and prophesized.

Secondly, by purchase. Messiah was born in Bethlehem, went on to live a perfect life. Perfectly fulfilled the law, never missed. Perfect life. Atoning death. Glorious resurrection.

He received, upon His ascension, the title deed to the earth. In Daniel 7 and Daniel 2, the one about the dream, those two chapters says the same thing. In Daniel 2, it is a stone that becomes a big mountain that fills the earth. That’s the kingdom. In Daniel 7, it is not a stone, it is a person. In verse 13, he is labeled the Son of Man. Rather than a stone filling the whole earth in Daniel 13, the Son of man approaches the Ancient of Days, God the Father, seated on the throne, and is handed a kingdom. The Bible says it will never end. He receives it, literally.

We’ll go Revelation 5 to read the story. In Revelation 5, John is in heaven and he sees God the Father on the throne. A loud voice says, “Who can open the book? Who can receive the title deed to the earth? "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"  No one was found. John said, This is terrible. If nobody can receive the title deed, no one can fix it up. Only the owner has demolition rights.

4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;
5and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."

The song goes like this:

9And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation

How is it going to happen? It’s promised. It’s purchased. He buys it with His blood.

And then he comes and gets it. Revelation 19 and 20 -- He comes and gets it. “And every eye shall see Him.” And subsequently every knee will bow because He comes with legions of heavenly beings and he takes what is His. And the kingdom that will never end acknowledges this Lord and this Messiah.

That is what Isaiah 9:7 is about. It takes us into the future. It is a wonderful, wonderful truth. Who could pull that off? Find me a leader anywhere else who could pull that off. He is not available. Only God can do this, only by His Messiah. And that, brothers and sisters, makes Him our only hope, our only joy, our only embrace. To Him should be our allegiance and our praise.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,
Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995
by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 Jim Carlson 2006, Lone Rock Bible Church, Stevensville Montana, USA