ABC Extra – Not Just Mighty, Almighty

December 6, 2010 at 5:15 am 1 comment

My Thanksgiving started out well enough.  Melody and I hosted our family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year, complete with turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings.  The food was delicious.  In fact, everyone had to loosen their belts a couple of notches when we were finished.  Thanksgiving success!  But the most exciting part of my Thanksgiving was yet to come.

After having to turn down tickets three times this season because of previous commitments, I was offered some tickets to go see my Texas Longhorns play the Aggies on Thanksgiving night in Austin.  I could hardly wait.  It didn’t matter that I was full and tired.  It didn’t matter that a cold front was blowing through, dropping temperatures to near freezing.  I was ready for some football!  And so, I arrived at Darryl K. Royal Memorial Stadium, decked out in orange, ready to watch the Longhorns run, pass, and tackle their way to victory in a last ditch effort to get a bowl bid.  And we almost had it…until that interception at the end of the game.  Final score:  24-17.  Aggies win.

It was a long drive home that night.  Last year, the scenario of a losing season seemed impossible.  After all, less than a year ago, we were playing in the BCS Championship game.   We were the mighty warriors of the gridiron.  But what a difference a year makes.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen (cf. 2 Samuel 1:25)!

Even the mightiest of men can fall.  Isaiah puts it well:  “Even youths shall faint and be weary; and young men shall fall exhausted” (Isaiah 40:30).  This is demonstrated time and time again in the pages of Scripture.

In Joshua 10:2, we read about the city of Gibeon:  “Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities…and all its men were warriors.”  The Hebrew word for “warriors” is gibor, meaning “mighty.”  And yet, even the mighty men of Gibeon are no match for the Israelites. For the Gibeonites “fear greatly for their lives” (9:24) because of the Israelites’ success in their campaign against the nations of Canaan and even seek to make a peace treaty with the them.  The Gibeonites’ mightiness fails.

Then, in 1 Samuel 17:51, we read about the Philistine fighter Goliath:  “David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it.  When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”  The Hebrew word for “champion” is again gibor.  With a smooth stone and a sling, David does what a whole Israelite army cannot:  he slays the mighty man Goliath.  And Goliath’s mightiness fails.

The mightiness of men, be they warriors or football players, fails.  The mightiness of our God, however, does not.

Some 725 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesies concerning Him:  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  “A child will be born,” Isaiah says, “and he will be called, ‘Mighty.’”  The Hebrew word for “mighty” is, once again, gibor.  However, this mighty One is unlike other mighty ones in the Bible.  For when the word gibor is used, it is often used in conjunction with the word ish, the Hebrew word for “man.”  But when it is used in Isaiah 9:6, it is used with the word el, Hebrew for “God.”  And this makes all the difference.  For when the Scriptures talk about the mightiness of men, time and time again, we watch their mightiness fall, falter, and fail.  But when the Scriptures speak of the mightiness of God, they speak of it in eternal and unfailing terms.  As Nehemiah explains, “God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, keeps covenant and steadfast love” (Nehemiah 9:32).  God’s keeps His mightiness going, as demonstrated through His faithfulness to His covenant promises and His steadfast love to you and me.

Finally, our God is not just mighty, He is Almighty.  That is, He is the supreme Mighty One.  For this reason, we trust that His mightiness will never fail.  So trust not in your own strength!  Trust not in your own gibor!  For you have someone much mightier than you.  And He’s lying in a manger.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Kevin Jennings  |  December 6, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Hi, Zach! I, too, lamented the loss of my beloved ‘Horns on Thanksgiving – it’s been a tough year.

    Isaiah 9:6 has that great phrase about the Mighty God, but there’s another phrase that can be translated a little differently than it usually appears: eviyad (okay, this doesn’t do justice to the Hebrew). Usually, it’s translated as “Everlasting Father,” but, the alternate meaning of “ad” is booty, prey, spoils! Imagine, this Child being the Father, the one who distributes, of booty, what is taken by defeating one’s enemy.


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