Trembling at His Presence

“In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance” Isaiah 19:24-25

Considering the current Middle East environment it is quite a mental exercise to accept that these three nations will one day get along as one. The previous verse tells us that there will be a highway between Egypt and Assyria which, of geographic necessity, must pass through Israel. People who have not experienced the power of God in salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ might be inclined to say that such talk is but a dream. However, the Lord says He will perform it when He comes. Jesus is the solution to the problems in the Middle East. The question, “If there is a God, why doesn’t He do something?” will be answered forever.

This outcome will not come progressively over a long period of time. Verse two indicates a time of civil unrest or even civil war in Egypt from which a cruel and oppressive leader will arise (v 4). The river Nile will dry up most likely by drought inland. Without the Nile hunger and disease will afflict the nation. Out of this severe trial Egypt will turn to the Lord and He will deliver them (vv 20-21).

Leaders of the nations of the world carry on in futility trying to resolve the Middle East unrest, terrorism and wars but they reject the One who would show them the way. They refuse His counsel and wonder why things are getting worse. Paul describes them and their actions in Romans 1:18-32 summing up their words and actions in verse 22, “Professing to be wise they became fools.”

In the Proverbs we read, “The Lord gives wisdom” (2:6) and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (9:10). As long as people reject God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding they will fail at every turn. When the Lord returns He will resolve all the divisions but tragically people will suffer because they refuse the wisdom of God.

Isaiah would cry out for the Lord to tear apart the heavens and come down “to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence” (Isaiah 64:1-5) and the Lord will do so but there was still the need of the cross first. In mercy God gives time for people to repent and in this He shows His patient love. “God demonstrates His own [kind of] love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8; cf. 1 John 3:1).

The “rich man” in Luke 16:19-31 begged the Lord to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers of their great error but Jesus responded, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets [the Bible], neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (v 31). In great power Jesus rose from the dead and there are hundreds of recorded witnesses but the exhibit of God’s power by itself is ineffective to save. Salvation only comes when a person chooses to believe God’s Word and trust Jesus Christ.

No Neutral Position

“His name will be called … Prince of Peace …” Isaiah 9:6

Among the many names given to this Child in Isaiah 9 is “Prince of Peace.” The other names identify this Child as both deity and man. At this time of year many cards, placards and signs include the word “peace” but without the Prince of Peace there can be no peace with God or among people.

In spite of decades of searching for world peace we are arguably further from it than ever before. Man’s inhumanity toward man takes on many guises and his ingenuity seems to know no bounds when it comes to harming others. Greed, selfishness, hatred and indifference (all elements of pride) ensure that there will never be peace on earth until the Prince of Peace reigns in the hearts of people and in the world in His kingdom as He has promised He will do.

Isaiah records the words of God who said, “There is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). Of course he is speaking primarily of peace with God but without peace with God there can never be peace among men and we should not expect it. Leaders in the world espouse peace without God but their efforts are futile even if genuine.

There is no neutral position in a person’s relationship with God. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30). If we are not at peace with God then we are hostile toward Him. The claim that many make to neutrality is like a morning mist.

This Child came bearing the title Prince of Peace because He alone is able to reconcile people to God and bring peace with God. People who are at peace with God will be at peace with one another. If they are not at peace with one another then at least one of them is not at peace with God.

Through this Child who bore the sin of the world in His own shed blood we can be reconciled to God and be at peace with Him and with one another. Isaiah writes, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). It is God who keeps peace in a person’s heart through the Prince of Peace.

“And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The times are in His hands and at the right time He will again invade the earthly realm and assume His rightful place as KING of kings and LORD of Lords. Then there will be: Peace on earth and goodwill toward men