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Shouldering the Government

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, esv).

“And the government shall be upon his shoulder.”

Why is this simple sentence such good news? Because human government is flawed and failing. Even in our country, the system is broken; the purposes set out in the Constitution are not always being accomplished. In all human government motives are suspect and hearts are sinful. Instead of a constantly improving society, we have a continually deteriorating one.

If the sad answer to “What’s wrong with human government?” is “Almost everything,” we desperately need an answer to “Who’s going to fix it?”. And that answer is found in this verse written thousands of years ago, prophesying two advents—one of which has already happened.

Although human government has its place, the church’s hope must be always and only in the promises of God. He said a child would be born—a Son would be given—and two thousand years ago in Bethlehem the child was born exactly as prophesied. That was the first advent. But Isaiah also tells us that Jesus will come again, this time to reign in power. That will be the second advent, for which we wait eagerly as God’s children.

Jesus Christ is going to return to earth and He will establish a kingdom of permanence, promise, perfection, and power. This kingdom—this government—will be upon His shoulder. No wonder the apostle Paul calls this our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)!

In Isaiah 9:7 we are told, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” God will not bring about this kingdom just because He can (His ability), or even because He said He would (His integrity). God tells us that His most foundational attribute which will bring about His government is His zeal—the fact that He cares with holy passion about doing it.

We use the term shoulder to describe carrying weight. Asking someone to “put your shoulder into it” is a call for extra effort. “A shoulder to lean on” implies physical and emotional support. And if we “don't think we can shoulder that,” it’s just too much for us.

But nothing is too much for the Lord. Not only will Jesus Christ completely shoulder the government of His kingdom with permanence, promise, perfection, and power; He will do so with absolute sovereignty and glory to spare. This is the second advent we await, to which the first advent drew us nearer.

The baby born in Bethlehem will come again as King. And this time the government will be forever and finally upon His shoulder.


  • What are some of your disappointments in human government and how does the reality of God in your life overcome them?
  • What are some things you need Jesus to shoulder today? Pour out your heart to Him over these matters.

Father, thank You for all You have given me in Your Son, Jesus. I acknowledge that I don’t even begin to comprehend the love You’ve lavished upon me. Thank You for sending Jesus to become a man so He could live a perfect life and die an atoning death for me. Thank You for promising that He will return in power and glory to reign forever, and thank You that Jesus can shoulder everything I need Him to. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.


There's No Reason to Fear the End Times

Revelation. It’s probably the most dynamic, attention-grabbing, talked about, hope-filled book in the Bible. Yet, it’s also probably the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, confounding, and mysterious book, too. But realize this: In the end—when it’s all said and done—we win!

As I observe all that is happening in our world today, I feel a strong sense of urgency. Maybe you feel it, too. Spiritually speaking, it’s as if we can feel the world shaking. And though we’re living in trying times, nothing is too hard for our great God. The truth of His Word brings light to dark places and hope to the hopeless. That’s why I feel it’s so critical for you to request these resources. I know they’ll be an encouragement to you and those you love.
                                                                             - James MacDonald

Request your Signs of the Times in The New York Times 2-DVD set today with your gift of any amount to the ministry of Walk in the Word.