AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Scripture Reading—Isaiah 9:1-7

”Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Opening Prayer

Scripture Meditation—The Zeal Of The LORD

The wonder of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ ought always to thrill us. It will when we get to heaven. The Triune God for love of His people, in mercy and by grace, sent the Son of God to take our human nature into union with His Divine Person and become a man. If this is as far as you read in this article think on that for a while. Christ is God and Christ is man and will be so everlastingly.

A willing Saviour

That the love of God should be so great for fallen sinners as to devise such a plan of salvation speaks both of the height of God’s love and the depth of our need. God in Christ must stoop, humble Himself and become lower than the work of His own hands to restore, recover and redeem His people from their sins. This He did willingly. Our sinful state required no less. Had another means been possible, had another way been conceivable, the incarnation would not have happened and the Lord of Glory need not have come, suffered, bled and died.

A child born and a son given

Let us talk about the Zeal of the LORD. When God the Holy Ghost gave Isaiah the prophecy about the coming of a child and the birth of a son by a virgin He gave to the church in the Old Testament such specific, concrete promises of their soon to come Deliverer as to heighten anticipation of His arrival for the next five hundred years. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem there was already present in Jerusalem a group “waiting for the consolation of Israel”, expecting the One whom Simeon in praise to God called “thy Salvation”.

True governance

These men and women of faith, building upon Isaiah’s prophecy, waited for a child who would be born and a son who would be given. Simeon waited for a baby boy who would be God in flesh and would grow to fulfil all the qualities of Isaiah’s inspired words. This child would be a great light shining upon the people that walked in darkness and dwelt in the land of the shadow of death. He would rule in righteousness and equity, not only in the world but in His church and the government of all things would be upon His shoulder.

Let us not confuse Christ’s government with the often corrupt and largely inept product of human ingenuity we call government today for it is not what is meant here. Here government means the effective and successful rule and regulation of all things by the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s government is perfect and all control and responsibility and authority for this world rests upon His shoulder.

Wonderful, Counsellor

This child would bear a succession of names describing His character and accomplishments. His name, says Isaiah, “shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. Each lofty title opens to His people’s gaze the excellent and unique attributes of their dear Saviour and His rule and kingdom.

What is more, this child would from small beginnings grow and enlarge His kingdom to the ends of the earth as His gospel was preached and His people gathered from north, south, east and west and from the islands and the ends of the earth. The inhabitants of this kingdom would be perfectly ordered and everlastingly established. Everything required for their salvation would be provided, and everything needful for their eternal good and glory would be supplied by, and according to, the finest example of governance and the greatest of governors.

And should any dare say that these faithful folk in Jerusalem waited in vain for Christ’s coming then Isaiah’s closing words proved the confidence of the elect to be well-founded and their faith well-placed for we are told, “the Zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this”.

The Zeal of the LORD

That zeal of the LORD here spoken of has been called “no other than his fervent flaming love” and reminds us that this zeal, this fervent love, will accomplish every promise for the glory of the Son who was given, and the salvation of the people for whom He was given, and who were in the everlasting councils of peace, given to Him.

Let us stand in awe of the Zeal of the LORD as He performs everything promised in the great cause of salvation for which Christ came and for which He took our human nature and human flesh. Men and women imagine themselves captains of their own destiny and run on in their folly. Be assured, the covenant mercy of our Lord’s eternal purpose shall never fail for the Zeal of the LORD will perform it.

Peter Meney

Hymn—“All Hail The Power”

Sermon—“The Zeal Of The LORD”

Peter L. Meney is the editor of “New Focus“, a web-based magazine available online. Its purpose and aim is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

Hymn—“A Man There Is, A Real Man”

Closing Prayer

Benediction

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.



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