Day 12 | Hope for an end to war
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
In this passage, Isaiah voices an almost universal yearning for a time when 'peace there will be no end.' War brings food insecurity, fear, grief, pain, and trauma. For the victor, there may be an enlarged nation and plunder to add to the coffers, but at what cost?
These powerful verses held out a beacon of hope to the beleaguered Israelites: lasting peace was coming. It would be established by a child to be born. It turned out to be a long wait before the birth of Jesus Christ, whose coming heralded a new era of peace between humans and God.
And yet as I write, there are 32 countries involved in armed conflicts of some kind – whether terrorist insurgencies, civil wars, ethnic violence, or invasion. Historians largely agree there has never been a period of human history free from war. Can we hope for anything different?
We can. As the promise of a son of God born to us was fulfilled, so one day will he establish a kingdom without end in which peace reigns: he is the Prince of Peace. Have faith and hold onto hope: the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
And if you're not directly affected by war at present, ask him how you can support those who are – whether it's by providing for refugees in your town, donating to aid agencies, or even working directly on foreign policy.
Heavenly Father, you are a God of peace. May your kingdom of peace break in now, in places where bombs fall like hail, landmines are planted like crops, and the crackle of gunfire drowns out birdsong. May your presence be with those trying to survive in hellish conflicts. Help them hold on to what is to come – an eternal kingdom of peace. And work through me to embody that peace, both to those nearby and those far away.