Isaiah 9:1-7

ZEAL-What-It-Is-Where-It-Comes-From-Why-It-Matters (1)

“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” (Isa. 9:1)

When God used Isaiah to proclaim his messages for his people, Israel was worshiping idols who couldn’t hear though they have ears and couldn’t see¬†though they had eyes. And they themselves were becoming blind and deaf to the living God. The people of Israel put their trust in mere created idols instead of in the living God. And the personal and living God, Yahweh, is a jealous God. The Assyrians were coming to destroy them in the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

But in God, there is always hope. He wants us to turn back to him. He wants us back. No matter how harsh or unreasonable or incomprehensible it might seem, God’s ultimate motive is always us. He wants us. He loves us. That’s why everything that happened happened.

“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.” (Isa. 9:2-5)

No more darkness. The nation is abundant with its people in joy. The fullest joy possible like the joy at the harvest and after victory over war. The heavy burden and the hard rod of the oppressor is gone. Everything that reminds of those painful times are completely burned up. That’s what God promises. The true happy ending. Hope. The ultimate hope of the humanity.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)

Jesus Christ, the Messiah. God promised them that he would come. He came. The secret, the mystery is no longer hidden from us. We have the promise of God. He has kept his promise of the Old Testament. Surely, He will keep his promises of the New Testament.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isa. 9:7)

His kingdom will be forever. And the zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. The zeal of God. He is indeed very zealous toward us. His love is not just intellectual or conceptual nor abstract. His love is real. He is a personal God. He wants a relationship. He wants love, trust, intimacy, faith, loyalty, and integrity. And he works for it. He did all the work. He came down. He suffered for our sake. He became vulnerable. It was his zeal that did it.

Simple fact about myself is that I lack zeal. I have good intentions. I even claim I have answers to some important questions. But love, I’m no good at love because I lack zeal. How can I have zeal like God? How can I have real love so that I wouldn’t mind going through difficulties and suffering for the sake of others and for God? How can I stand firm in the face of opposition and temptation? I lack zeal.. God, help me learn from you. Let your love and zeal touch my heart deeply so that I will have the passion like yours. I’m afraid I’m all talk and nothing else.

Help me see your zeal toward me, and teach me your love.