I’m sure we’ve all noticed, how nothing seems to last anymore.
Everything in life these days seems to be disposable. From dinnerware, to relationships.
So much so that every time you go to Walmart to buy some thing… especially anything electronic, or anything mechanical… they try to sell you an extended replacement warranty... on the spot. Which is more-or-less evidence to me... that we’ve actually reached the point... where retailers and manufacturers are no longer make any bones about the fact, that their products are no good, and they’re almost guaranteeing you that the thing is not gonna last very long!
I mean why else would you sell an extended replacement warranty? Whatever happened to guaranteeing up-front, that your product is so good, that it’s so well built, that it’s so expertly engineered that you’re gonna stand by it. And you’ll replace it, repair it… whatever it takes… at NO additional costs, because you believe your product is good, and it’s going to last.
Now days you’ve got a pay in advance in order for them to replace it.
Nothing lasts forever. Everything seems disposable.
“For unto 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.“
Everlasting Father. The Hebrew word translated “everlasting” contains the idea of perpetuity, without end. It’s a thought that’s echoed, or reinforced, in our scripture by Isaiah, as he tells us, “of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (9:7). No end means, eternal.
The emphasis is forward looking, which is NOT to say the Messiah is not also “without beginning” - because we know from other scripture that’s certainly the case. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. But that’s not the emphasis in Isaiah.
The emphasis for Isaiah is the future! The days ahead. It’s a given for Isaiah that God is eternal, no beginning and no end... He’s been present since the beginning. It’s the future that God’s people are called to live in, today and tomorrow.
And their today and tomorrow looked bleak. They were surrounded by war, and oppression. Their leaders were terrible. There were truly no guarantees.
They needed a God - a Savior - who was present in their struggle... their uncertainty and fear. And Isaiah’s prophecy of an “Everlasting Father” - a permanent, unchanging, foundation that’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow... was a welcomed promise, and a needed comfort.
And the fact is... we need that same comfort, today, don’t we? We need an Everlasting Father. We need the stability, the underpinning, of a Savior who is with us always.
I don’t know of a human father who’s perfect. And sometimes dads don’t always live up to their end of the bargain, so-to-speak, when it comes to relationships. There are dads that cause grief, and anxiety by their actions and words. Sometimes by their absence. Absent fathers have created a huge problem among many segments of our population today. Some dads cause grief by their presence. They’re so demanding, so heavy handed that their children lose confidence and begin to think they’ll never live up to the expectations of their fathers.
But those dads are not reflective of God. Of course, most dads are good. They care for their families and children. They provide and protect, and nurture, and encourage us to the very best of their ability.
But, even the best fathers are only human... and they’re not with us forever. We won’t always be able to pick up the phone and call our father for advice. It’s a fact of life. We’re all finite creatures, and only here for a moment.
God is eternal... He’s our Everlasting Father. And as much as our earthly fathers love us, our Everlasting Father loves us even more...
God’s Word expresses this truth, in Matthew 7:9-11... “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!.”
Of course, the reality is - with as much as I love my kids and grand-kids - and even though I desire only good for them... I’m an imperfect father/grandfather - both in my actions and my love.
But, Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God... the Everlasting Father... longs to take care of us... longs to provide for us... and love us... and serve us... and help us mature into all that we can be... NEVER leaves us nor forsakes us.
He loves us as an everlasting love. He protects us as an everlasting father. He cares for us as an everlasting father. A perfect father forever.
We also use the word “father” when speaking of leaders. We sometimes call a mayor and city council “city fathers” and we know from history that our “founding fathers” (people like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson) sacrificed much in order to secure our freedom.
And that’s kinda what Isaiah is getting at here. The Messiah, as the “Everlasting Father” - will sacrifice much for our freedom - and this Father is a fixture of permanent, righteous leadership... that we can always depend on to be working for our good.
I suppose, in the end, Isaiah’s words, his vision, his prophecy, helps us to see the attributes of God are bigger... they’re grander... more encompassing than we could ever hope to put into words. A Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father... and, as we’ll see, Lord willing, on Christmas Eve, he’s our Prince of Peace.
May these words from Isaiah be reassuring for us as followers of Christ. They paint us a picture of Jesus as Messiah; as a God who loves us, comforts us, counsels us... A God who’s stronger than our weaknesses... A God who’s eternal and parental and loving... not just some abstract creator who sits back on his throne and watches his creation unfold, but a God who is an active participant; Emmanuel... God with us... who became one of us, in order to truly, love us, and save us... as only an Everlasting Father could.
And that’s a guarantee you can rest assured will last forever...