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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Note: This week we are sharing a five part series based on Isaiah 9:6, considering one the great Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.
Message summary: Our response to the mighty God is summed up by the Apostle Peter, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6).
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"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy" (Luke 1:48,49). "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6).
Electricity, although invisible, is a mighty force. Years ago we wrote a message titled, "A Power You Cannot See" and shared about an electrical engineer I visited with at a Christian Book Distributors*¹ warehouse sale in New England. He shared with me how that having faith in an unseen, powerful God was easier for him due to his knowledge of the unseen power of electricity.
Today let us consider the designation "Mighty God", which is the second title mentioned for the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6.
The Hebrew word for "mighty" is "gibbor", which means “strong and mighty". It describes heroes like Nimrod, “a mighty warrior … a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:8-9). It also describes the “mighty warriors” of King David of Israel (2 Samuel 23:8). It’s a word that describes bravery and courage. All these are qualities of gibbor in the compound name El Gibbor, "the Mighty God".
Pastor Peter Chin writes,
"The word for God "El" is a pretty common one, but the word for "mighty" (gibbor) is very interesting. It doesn't mean just strong, but means a champion, someone who does as he pleases, even a tyrant. That can be a difficult conception of God for us to embrace. How are we supposed to understand this?
Partly we should know that Jesus is mighty, as we read in Hebrews 2 and Colossians 2. But what can help us understand the might of God even more is understanding the context of Isaiah, and Advent. In both of those situations, Israel lives under the control of kings, tyrants, and empires. And in that context, their desire for God to be a MIGHTY champion and savior makes perfect sense.
This helps us to understand the MIGHT of God differently, that it is about our context. We understand and long for the MIGHT of God when we need God to be mighty in our lives. That means that those who are grieving or oppressed or hopeless understand this aspect of God better than those who do not, meaning that we need their presence and theology in our lives. And for those of us who need God to be mighty right now, Advent is a reminder that that is exactly who Jesus is." *²
We all have spiritual and physical battles that test our faith and exceed our own might, strength, power and strategy. Our God is mighty in battle, dutiful in the execution of His power, and holy in His judgment. What assurance that brings as we trust!
Another more familiar word related to this is El Shaddai, which means God Almighty. Some of us old timers will recall a song with this as the title (see below for link). It was written by Michael Card and John Thompson and released in 1981. Listening to it in preparation for this message along with "You Are My Hiding Place" stirred memories of a younger period of time in our lives when we sang these songs in church.
God first introduced Himself as El Shaddai to Abraham in Genesis 17:1. When Abraham was 99 years old, God simply said to Abraham, "I am Almighty God". That is what we read in the English version of the Bible but what God actually said in Hebrew to Abraham was, I am "El Shaddai”. The final reference is in Revelation 21:22, "the Lord God the Almighty".
Throughout the Bible descriptions and examples of God's might are abundant. Genesis 49:24 speaks of "the Mighty One of Jacob". In Psalm 50:1 we have the timeless call, "The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets". Earlier in Isaiah's book he writes of "the Lord God of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel" (Isaiah 1:24).
But significant in the prophecy by Isaiah some 700 years before Christ's incarnation is the declaration of His divinity, "mighty God". In Isaiah it always denotes, as Thomas Cheyne observes, "divinity in an absolute sense; it is never used hyperbolically or metaphorically."
In Mary's song recorded in Luke before Christ's birth speaks of the Mighty One: "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy" (Luke 1:48,49). To what extent did Mary realize the mighty God was physically growing inside her in His incarnate state.
Our response to this mighty God is summed up by the Apostle Peter, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You give strength to the weary and power to the weak, for You are all-powerful, almighty God. The power of Your might is seen in the person of Jesus, our Saviour and Messiah. When we read of Christ's healings, His casting out demons, withstanding Satan's temptations during His 40 day fasting in the wilderness, His bearing the weight of the world's sin as He hung dying on the cross - all these miraculous interventions and so much more point to how mighty in power our Lord is. Truly our Lord Jesus is Almighty God whom we praise and adore here and now and will do so forevermore. Amen.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
*² "El Shaddai Medley" Video Jesus Image (a church in Florida) Listening to these songs rekindled a tender memory of the years we sang them in our new church plant in Northern PA about 40 years ago. We started our church right out of Bible College in an oversized room in our apartment, then moved to a former store for several years before we were able to construct a church building. Those were special years that linked us with zealous and earnest believers, young in their faith, seeking to walk in the ways of the Lord. Some of our current readers are among those dear folks and we're so thankful for this medium that still keeps us connected with you. For others hopefully we have stirred up a memory for you as well when you, as a new believer, gathered with other earnest Christ followers seeking to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. What wonderful soul-stirring memories that were impactful to our lives all these years later.
"What A Mighty God We Serve" Video Integrity's Hosanna! Music Another song we sang many years ago.
"Mighty God" Video Josh Baldwin
"Mary's Song" Video Fellowship Worship
"Mary's Little Boy Child/Jesus, What A Wonderful Child" Video The Collingsworth Family
"A Power You Cannot See" Message about meeting an electrical engineer at the warehouse sale in Peabody Massachusetts.
*¹ Christian Book Distributors is a large catalog and online resource for Christian-themed books, music, gifts, etc. It was started in 1978 by Stephen Hendrickson, who went to the same Bible college we did in Springfield, MO. When he came home he asked his father, who was a pastor, if he could sell some mail order books out of the garage. It took off and now their distribution center in Peabody, Massachusetts has 300,000 sq ft and they employ over 500! When we lived up that way in the 90's they had several warehouse sales each year which probably attracted more than any other single Christian event in New England. People camped out overnight. In June 2019, Christian Book Distributors (which was usually abbreviated CBD) changed its name to Christianbook, Inc. due to confusion with CBD, a chemical from cannabis!
*² "A MIGHTY God" - Pastor Peter Chin Video (used a quote from this sermon in the message)
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