The people that walked in darkness
Have seen a great light:

They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death
Upon them hath the light shined.

Thou has multiplied the nation,
And increased the joy:

They joy before thee according to the joy in harvest,

And as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For thou has broken the yoke of his burden,
And the staff of his shoulder,

The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.
For every boot stamped with fierceness,
And every cloak rolled in blood,

Shall even be for burning, for fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born,

Unto us a son is given:  And the government shall be upon his shoulder:
And his name shall be called

Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
There shall be no end,

Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
To order it, and to establish it

With judgment and with justice
From henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.


There is coming a day when the corruption, the lies, and

bloodshed that have prevailed in the human race since it

was first contaminated with sin will end; and there will

be established on this earth a kingdom that will be like

heaven, ruled by the Messiah, the Son of God.


This kingdom will be brought about not by human ambition,
but by God.


The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.

Everything in this prophecy of Isaiah 9 is being accomplished

by God's zeal. It does not hinge on man.


- God causes the people who walked in

   darkness to see the light.

- God brings joy to that desolate nation.
- God causes the instruments of war to
   become fuel for the fire.


And God does it by means of the moving of His Holy Spirit.


When Isaiah says, "God's zeal will do it", it's the same as saying,

"God's Spirit will do it".


God's Spirit causes the virgin to conceive and bear a son.


God's Spirit anoints Him with the anointing that makes Him

the Christ, the Messiah.


God's Spirit guides Him to the Cross where He lays down

His innocent life for the sins of the race.


God's Spirit raises Him from the dead.


God's Spirit lifts Him back to the highest heaven - to the

right hand of the Father where He is given a name which

is above every name.


And, it is God's Spirit who is now, at this moment, all over the earth

turning hearts toward the Cross of Jesus Christ, causing them to

know that because of that death of the Lamb of God, their sins are forgiven.


The government is already upon the shoulder of the crucified and risen Son of God.

And the one who is executing His orders on this earth is the Holy Spirit

who is the Zeal of the Lord of Hosts.  And we can see it all with our own eyes.


Never has His word been more powerful on this earth than it is today.


Never have there been more glorious signs of His grace.

    - People are hearing the voice of Jesus.
    - Feeling the touch of His healing hand.


 People are turning away from the vanity that they were into

 including all the religious vanity - and are following Jesus Christ.


These things are being done by the zeal of the Lord of Hosts.


God is doing it. God is saying, "Wake up", and the people
                                                                   are waking up.

                        God is saying, "Turn from your sins", and

                            people are turning.

God is saying, "Be released from your

                            bondage", and they are shaking off their chains.

"Follow my Son", and they are following Him.


No man can come to me except the Father which
hath sent me draw him, and I will raise him
up on the last day.


What you are seeing now, my friend, in your own life and in the lives

 of those around you, is not the work of man. It is the work of God.


No man can say, "Jesus is Lord", but by the Holy Ghost.


It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.


Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.


And yet, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts always works
through men. God works redemptively on this earth only
through flesh-and-blood people. Not through angels.


- Angels are messengers.

- Angels are ministering spirits for those
who are being saved.

- Angels are protectors and helpers.


Praise God for the angels that are watching over you as

you read these words. But, only men --- flesh-and-blood
human beings are channels of redemptive grace.


God raises up men and women through whom His saving zeal
moves. Never against their will, of course. If God
calls us into the stream of His redemptive power and we
refuse, He doesn't force us. He passes us by and raises
up others. At the moment, God is calling us into things
far more glorious than we've ever seen.


But there is one thing we must understand: for God's
zeal to take hold of us and move through us, our lives
must be given over to that zeal. There has to be an
utter and complete abandonment to God's will.


Lo, I came to do thy will, 0 Lord.


Now most of us understand well enough that if things get
in the way of God's zeal, they have to go. If you've
bought a car that you just can't afford, you're going
to be in such bondage to that car that you can't do
God's will, sell it and get one you can afford.


Who do you love? Jesus or your car?

                              God or mammon?


That kind of thing is easy enough to deal with.

If you're too wrapped up in your family,

or your money,

or your hobby, or your T.V.

or your midnight snacks, surely
now that God has begun moving with power in your life,
you can do what has to be done about these things.


But there is one competitor with divine zeal in our
lives that's not so easy to pin-point,

                                      or admit,

                                      or get rid of.


It often looks so much like divine zeal an outsider can't tell the
difference. People look at you and say, "There is a
person with zeal for God. He's up early.

                                         He continues late.
                                         Always on the go.

                                  Always at the right place at the right time.
He prays wonderful prayers.
Speaks beautiful words. Yet you know - and God knows -

that the thing which is driving you is not holy zeal at all,

but ambition. And ambition is flesh. The inspiration behind

ambition, especially reli­gious ambition, is Satan. The goal

of ambition is not the Kingdom of God, but the kingdom of self.

And it's final destination, no matter how much it talks about heaven, is Hell.


Surely we know the difference between ambition and zeal.


             - If we want a name on earth

                                                    - that's ambition.
 - If we're satisfied to have our names written in heaven

                                                    - that's zeal.

             - If we're concerned about what men think -

                                                    - that's ambition.

             - If we care only about what God thinks  
                                                    - that's zeal.

             - If the only fruit that brings us joy is fruit that comes out of our ministry

                                                    - that's ambition.

   - If we rejoice at fruit for the Kingdom,  no matter who bears it

                                           - that's zeal.


Ambition - especially religious ambition, spiritual ambition - is the human manifestation

of the unholy spirit of the antichrist.


         Zeal is the human manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God.


Many a church is a temple, not to the living God, but to the demon of ambition.


Many an evangelistic association is reared, not to the
glory of Jesus Christ, but to the demon of ambition, using
the gospel of Jesus as a cloak over a rapacious heart.


The only ambitious men in scriptures were evil men.


             David's son, Absalom, was an ambitious man.
             He wanted to be king. 0, how he wanted to

             be king! If it meant the death of his own
             father, he wanted to be king.


In Judas we see ambition with all its masks off. What it won't do to further

its own ends. Yes, even in disciples who were very close to Jesus, the
spirit of ambition made its appearance.


"Lord, grant that we may sit one at your right hand

 and the other at your left in your kingdom",

says James and John.


Jesus tolerated many things in the lives of His disciples.
But He always struck down ambition immediately, else the
zeal of the Lord of Hosts would not be able to move
through their lives.


"Whoever would be great among you must be

your servant. Whoever would be first

among you must be slave of all."


So, the question to every believer reading these words

- What is it that's driving you?


- What is it that moves you when you get up

in the morning and step forth into another day?


  - Are you being driven from within by the zeal

    of the Lord of Hosts, by the spirit of the

    living God, caring for nothing but to do God's

    will,  to manifest God's love to the people

                               you live with and work with?


   - Is your heart as set on pleasing Jesus as His
heart was and is set on pleasing the Father?


or, is it ambition? The secret desire beneath all the spiritual activity to exalt yourself,

to be somebody?


There has to come a point when God puts His finger on this self-lust and we

 admit it... confess it and bring it to the Cross.


Tell Him, "Lord, you know it but I have to confess it:

               beneath a veneer of faith and piety I have

   still been seeking my own glory. Lusting

   after recognition from men.  Striving for that

   place of honor. Lord, I now bring this

   ambition to the Cross. Take it down into

   thy death. Raise me up by the Spirit into

   pure and holy zeal".


Every day take this ambitious spirit to the Cross and exchange

it for God's zeal.

Every hour, every time it rears its head, renounce it, repent of it, turn from it.


Many professing Christians secretly believe it's perfectly

all right to have a little self-seeking ambition mixed

in with their zeal for God. What they don't understand

is that the day we start tolerating a little ambition in

our hearts, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts departs from us.

The Spirit is grieved. The presence of God flees from

the temple and leaves it to the scribes and Pharisees

and the moneymen. 

"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its
affections and lusts." Can we honestly say before God
that the lust of ambition in our hearts is dead?



Maybe it was crucified last week, but is it crucified in
you right now?


Jesus says to each of us,

- Are you willing to give up your ambition to Me now?

- Are you willing to surrender it to My death?

- Are you willing this day to deny yourself,

  take up your cross and follow me?


Are you willing, friend,

- that the government should be upon His shoulder - not yours.

- That His name, not yours, should be called Wonderful.

  - That of the increase of His government and
peace there should be no end?


When it's clear to God that you have really denied
yourself, that the ambition in your heart has been
crucified and that you are truly given to following
Jesus Christ.


Then, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will descend upon

you afresh in the power of the Holy Ghost and in ways

that bring you no glory,

                     no honor,

                     no fame,

                     no recognition. The life of God will
flow forth from you, bring healing and salvation to
many, preparing the earth for the Day when every knee
shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord to the glory of God the Father.