Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Our Prince of Peace
Read | Isaiah 9:6
The Christmas rush is here. There are plans to make, gifts to buy, and parties to attend. Sometimes these activities leave us exhausted and cranky—instead of peace and joy, we may feel inner churning because there’s too much to do. Or perhaps this time of the year brings nothing but sad memories and loneliness. Unrealistic expectations and conflicts with loved ones often leave us depressed and discouraged.
How can Jesus be our Prince of Peace when our expectations and traditions fight against the tranquility we desire? To understand why Jesus was given this title, we must first understand what it means. First of all, God’s Son did not come to do away with all conflicts—not yet, anyway. One day He will return to earth and rule as King in an environment of external harmony, but that was not the purpose of His first coming. So while we’re on earth, we’ll have trouble (John 16:33).
When Christ left heaven to become a human baby, His goal was to bring us peace with God by reconciling us to the Father. His death on the cross paid our sin debt in full, and our relationship with God is restored. Now He offers us divine peace—an inner serenity that fills our hearts and minds no matter what is going on in our circumstances.
Is your life characterized by a quiet assurance that guards your heart and mind all day long (Phil. 4:6-7), or have stressful circumstances left you feeling depressed or agitated? Try setting aside time each day to fix your eyes upon Jesus. Then let Him heal your heart and calm your spirit.
Birth and Reign of the Prince of Peace
1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. 3 You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On thethrone of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore.The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
God’s Anger with Israel’s Arrogance
8 The Lord sends a message against Jacob, And it falls on Israel. 9 And all the people know it, That is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, Asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with smooth stones; The sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.” 11 Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin And spurs their enemies on, 12 The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; And they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.
13 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, Nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. 14 So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, Both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. 15 The head is the elder and honorable man, And the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. 16 For those who guide this people are leading them astray; And those who are guided by them are brought to confusion. 17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, Nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer, And every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.
18 For wickedness burns like a fire; It consumes briars and thorns; It even sets the thickets of the forest aflame And they roll upward in a column of smoke. 19 By the fury of the LORD of hosts the land is burned up, And the people are like fuel for the fire; No man spares his brother. 20 They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm. 21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, And together they are against Judah. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.