Posts tagged ‘Isaiah 9:6’

ABC Extra – Not Just Mighty, Almighty

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.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Nordlie’s ABC!

December 6, 2010 at 5:15 am 1 comment

ABC Extra – The Man with the Plan

Have you ever had a plan go south on you in a hurry?  When I was in college, I was in charge of planning the Christmas service for our campus chapel.  The plans did not come together as I expected.  Right before the service, my choir director fell ill and was not able to lead the choir.  My instrumentalists also did not rehearse as they should have.  In fact, there was one instrumentalist who still stands out in my mind to this day.

One of the carols I had planned for the service was “Joy to the World.”  Because this is such a boisterous song, I decided to incorporate some cymbal crashes into the arrangement.  The difficulty was, the only pair of cymbals our college had were monstrous.  Even a gentle crash of the cymbals easily filled the chapel.  My cymbal player, however, did not know this.  Thus, the beloved lyric, “And heaven and nature sing,” was answered by the biggest, baddest, moist boisterous cymbal crash I have ever heard.  In fact, it wasn’t just a crash, it was a smash!  The whole congregation jumped.  And the joy of the song was replaced by snickers at the surprise.

Sometimes, our plans go south in a hurry.  For our planning is never airtight and mistake-proof.  The unexpected can smash even our best-laid plans.

This weekend in worship and ABC, we kicked off a new series for Advent titled, “Hello!  My Name Is…”  In this series, we are taking a look at the names for Jesus as they are famously given to us in Isaiah 9:6:  “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.”  This past weekend, we talked about what it means for Jesus to be our “Wonderful Counselor.”

In Hebrew, the word for “Counselor” is ya’as.  In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, this word is translated as boule.  Notably, boule is often translated as the word “plan.”  A couple examples will suffice:

  • “If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)
  • When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His plan, He guaranteed it with an oath. (Hebrews 6:17)

In the first example, the Pharisee Gamaliel notes that though man’s plans eventually fail, God’s plans always endure and stand.  The Psalmist explains it this way:  “The LORD brings the plans of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The plan of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11).  Thus, what God plans to do, He always accomplishes, even when His plan includes the death of His one and only Son, as Peter attests to in his Pentecost sermon:  “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:22-23).  It was God’s plan to kill His Son for the forgiveness of our sins all along.  And God’s plan prevails.

God’s plan prevails.  This is great comfort as we trust Christ, our Wonderful Counselor.  For our Counselor’s plans are sure and good.  After all, He has had our salvation planned from the very foundation of the world (cf. Matthew 25:34) and His plan came to pass with the cross.  Thus, we can always trust His counsel because we know that it is part of His plan.  And whereas our plans can fail, falter, and wind up in disaster, God’s plan remains, is resolved, and winds up in glory.  Trust in the plan, found in God’s Word, of your Wonderful Counselor!

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

November 29, 2010 at 5:15 am 1 comment

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