Let the Word Speak!

Isaiah 25:1-10: Immense Power in a Tiny Package

Lord, you are my God;

I will exalt you and praise your name,

for in perfect faithfulness

you have done wonderful things,

things planned long ago.

You have made the city a heap of rubble,

the fortified town a ruin,

the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more;

it will never be rebuilt.

Therefore strong peoples will honor you;

cities of ruthless nations will revere you.

You have been a refuge for the poor,

a refuge for the needy in their distress,

a shelter from the storm

and a shade from the heat.

For the breath of the ruthless

is like a storm driving against a wall

and like the heat of the desert.

You silence the uproar of foreigners;

as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,

so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare

a feast of rich food for all peoples,

a banquet of aged wine—

the best of meats and the finest of wines.

On this mountain he will destroy

the shroud that enfolds all peoples,

the sheet that covers all nations;

he will swallow up death forever.

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears

from all faces;

he will remove his people’s disgrace

from all the earth.

The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;

we trusted in him, and he saved us.

This is the Lord, we trusted in him;

let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain;

but Moab will be trampled in their land

as straw is trampled down in the manure.

New International Version

 

The story of Christmas overflows with contradictions that defy our sense of order and control. The Son of God who reigned before Time began was born on earth 2000 years ago. The King of the universe had to be carried off to Egypt to avoid being killed by King Herod. The infant in the manger was fully human, and somehow fully God. The Messiah that came to save Israel did nothing to build up its military capability. We have Eternal Life because of His death.

Christmas is much simpler to understand if we choose to ignore one side or the other of these logical conflicts. We can identify with God’s infant Son because we know what babies are like. We are willing to sing the angels’ song of “Peace on Earth” when we don’t have to measure the cost. We can marvel at the stories of Mary and Joseph, for even though we haven’t experienced the events that God led them through, we are capable of imagining how they might have felt and what faith was required of them. The events of Jesus’ birth are filled with the drama of what might not have taken place, had those involved made different decisions. These are stories we can understand.

But the coming of the Messiah was not to give us warm holiday feelings and stories to share, but to unleash immeasurable power on humanity. This scripture passage is not a typical Messianic prophesy because it doesn’t speak as much to the One that came as it does to the results He came to bring. Jesus came to earth so that the centers of power in the world would be destroyed, and those who exploited others will fear the power of Love. Jesus came to remove the “veil” that prevents the world from seeing the truth of Love and the reality of our existence in God’s Plan. All order, all might, all wisdom, and all wealth is completely undone in the coming of the Messiah, who replaces what is earthly with what is divine.

This plan for the Savior was not God’s response to desperate conditions and failed covenants, but the perfect plan the All-knowing developed before creation. Jesus was not only a weak infant in a stable, but the ultimate strength that awes the strongest of earthly forces and defeats even death. Jesus did not come to mingle with the strong and powerful, but to gather every one of us in our weakness and frailty, so that He can dry our tears. Jesus did not come merely to save us, but to overwhelm us with abundant blessings.

The reality of the coming of the Messiah challenges much of the knowledge we have gained from observing the world. Nothing in our experience can compare with what Jesus wants to do in our lives, as Grace forgives our rebellion and grants us the peace that passes our understanding. No authority, power, or righteousness we have ever seen can compare with what God sent to earth in the infant Jesus. In a world of “give and take”, we must admit that we have nothing of value to offer God, but God sends the Gift to us just the same.

This situation presents each of us with a choice of how we respond. Too often, we limit our Christmas celebrations to the sweet stories of one miraculous night and set aside that which would challenge our sense of control and competence. Instead, we should embrace the coming of the Messiah as the earth-changing event it was and is and will forever be. We must subject ourselves to the power of the King of Kings, then rejoice in the immeasurable blessings of God’s magnificent Kingdom!

 


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Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Morris
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