[This podcast was first published on 8 December 2017. This is now the last podcast of 2018 – we resume on 7 January!]
Good morning and welcome to Friday’s podcast. Today is my last podcast of this week and it’s been great to journey with you this week.
Today’s reading is from Isaiah chapter 9 verse 7.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
I’m recording this podcast in the aftermath of the fall of Mugabe in Zimbabwe. I’ve been following the story closely over the past few years, since our best friends moved out to work in Zim several years ago. Mugabe’s rule has been long and fairly terrible. And even those of us who have never experienced the suffering that his citizens have can understand a little of the relief the recent events have brought. All over the world we see leaders trying to increase their power, growing their kingdom (usually by force) or asserting their control to prevent any loss of it.
This passage describes what the world will look like under Jesus’ rule and reign. The priorities of this Kingdom are peace, justice and righteousness. That definitely shouldn’t sound as radically different from the world we experience as it does! It feels like we are way off seeing that kind of leadership from our world’s rulers.
And yet the thing is we can’t wait for some far off day when everything will be made right. As Christians we believe that that day is coming that Jesus will return and heaven will be brought to earth, that Jesus will establish his kingdom here. But while we are on earth our job is to help reveal that kingdom to others. To tell people about the King! It means that we should be the people who champion peace and advocate for justice. Where we see anything that won’t exist in Jesus’ final Kingdom we should be moved to change it. If we find it hard to think about what that practically looks like, then Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 is a great place to start. The sermon is often called Jesus’ “manifesto” and he very practically explains what His kingdom looks like, how people behave, what they value. He covers everything from worry, money, sex, anger, the poor and a whole lot else. Our politicians should probably take a look if they want some real culture changing policies!
We can start close to or even in our own home. Where is there some ‘kingdom’ missing? Maybe it’s the way we speak to our kids or the way we are disconnected from our housemates. We may find that God leads us to places outside of our own situation which he is wanting to redeem with his Kingdom values. Maybe a person, family or community are being treated unfairly, maybe there’s real poverty that needs challenging. Let’s ask God to open our eyes to where we can bring the kingdom and its values, in our own lives but importantly in the lives of others.
PRAYER: Isaiah 9:2-7
Jesus, helps us to be moved whenever we see that our world does not look like it belongs to you. Help us to find ways of revealing your kingdom to others and to stand up for injustice wherever we see it. Amen.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.