For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder. (Isaiah 9:6)
Every four years in the United States we are reminded that no one leader will rule forever. Even in countries where there are dictators or monarchs, they eventually die and someone else comes into power. Human government, while good and ordained by God, is not ultimate. It’s easy to forget this. Sometimes, here in America, we think if we only had the right president, then we’d be able to stop terrorism. Then we’d solve racial tension. Then the economy will bounce back.
Human government, at its best, does bring safety, security, and enjoyment of freedom. But government can never bring us ultimate safety, security, and freedom from the enemies we fear most: sin, death, and Satan himself. When we put too much confidence in human government, we find ourselves devastated that our country and world are not what we hoped for. Israel wasn’t what it hoped. So they asked God for a human king (1 Sam. 8). Eventually what they found is that all those men failed. And Isaiah promised God’s people that, one day, a son would be born who would be a true king, a forever-king. This son, of course, is God’s own Son. Jesus is the only King who can bring this world into order and conquer the only enemies can really harm us.
It’s not hard to discern if we trust in human government or Jesus government. A few simple questions can help. Do you often find yourself tuning into your favorite cable news program with angst or anger? Do most of your conversations turn political? Do you most of your social media posts have to do with defending or lambasting a particular political ideology? Do you feel devastated or crushed thinking about what would happen if the “other” party wins? If you answered “yes” to those perhaps you have your eyes on the wrong king.
Scripture and Reflection Questions
Read Isaiah 9:1-7 and Psalm 2
- When are you tempted to put your trust in human leaders?
- What do you think your desire for justice and righteousness in nations and world leaders says about your need for a true King?
- Read Psalm 2:8-9. How can Jesus simultaneously be a king who both draws all people to himself and conquers the nations? What does this say about his character and mission?
- How does being a citizen of a kingdom that will never end impact the way you live in this world?
- Is Jesus your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace? How might you trust him today and this Advent to be these things for you?