Friday, December 8th, 2017
“He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9: 7b
Do you ever read the Bible and think, “I wonder how God is going to do that?” I try hard not to be cynical (after all, hope is a big part of faith in God), but it seems impossible to uphold a kingdom of peace with justice and righteousness for one day… forget forever-and-ever-amen. The “peace” we have seen in our day, especially lately, seems to be teetering on the edge of dangerous chaos and complete disintegration. The last line “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this”— this seems to be a strange choice of words. The prophet doesn’t say it will be the power of God that will do this, or the army of God, or even the politics of God that will bring peace—it is God’s zeal. God’s fervency and devotion to God’s people will accomplish this peace forever. This “zeal” that the prophet Isaiah speaks of—what is it?
God answers this question at Christmas. It is now that we see the zeal in the flesh. We know from Jesus’ character that this zeal is first and foremost about compassion and love; that it works through broken people and great injustice to make all things right in the end. He joins us in the muck of the messes we make and weeps and suffers alongside us. Born a weak and dependent child in a manger, becoming a homeless rabbi wanderer, lover of sinners, a miracle man. What a strange and beautiful way to bring peace forever-more.
Prayer: Thank you for your mysterious ways, Oh Lord. Thank you that Jesus was born on Christmas to proclaim your power and glory, and that He does so through love and mercy. Place this zeal of yours within us. Give us passion for the weak and disenfranchised, break our hearts for what breaks yours. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you, as you bring about your peaceful world in the most perfect, powerful, and zealous way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Creative Call-to-Action: Today, be on the lookout for people or things working to bring peace. Take a photo of one example and find someone who may need proof that God is at work, making peace in our world today. Share your photo with them (either on the Facebook post for this devotional, in person, or via text) and proclaim to them “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will bring peace!”
—Merideth Hite Estevez