December 21, 2022
The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulder
By: Brian Parsons
“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.” – Isaiah 9:6
We often treat life like a destination and not a process. We live life as though we will have arrived at some point, and when we do, we can finally let down our guard and go into auto-pilot. We will finally have the American dream: a spouse, kids, a home, and a white picket fence. Or perhaps once we’ve reached this point, we will have the career advancement of our dreams. Perhaps we will reach the pinnacle of our careers, retire early, and travel the world. Life is not a destination but a process.
The world would like to convince us that our circumstances are unique and uniquely heinous. Unscrupulous politicians and policies create unpleasant circumstances from which we’d prefer to depart sooner than later. I’m reminded that a short three years ago, we were experiencing record abundance and progress, and then we were handed a global pandemic. The truth is that though the nature of the pandemic was unique and suspect, it doesn’t begin to stack up in terms of its effect on the history of the globe. We were fortunate in that, technologically, we were positioned to rapidly deploy treatment and care for the infirm. We were fortunate to be able to shift our duties to remote work and learning in many cases.
Though our collective response has often created poor outcomes and economic hardship for many, it pales compared to many past pandemics. Don’t get me wrong, as I am not excusing what most of us have experienced at the hands of authoritarians. I am merely suggesting that compared to some moments in history, we were best equipped to come out on top.
If we are tuned in to the world around us, we have a lot of reasons to gripe. No matter which side of the political aisle we’re on, we have desires for the direction of the world, and we are increasingly frustrated at an unresponsive elected class that primarily exists to further objectives outside the will of the people. We’re increasingly impatient, as the on-demand world has conditioned us to expect things without the seasoning required to produce the desired outcome. As in life, we often treat our politics as a destination, not a process.
In the history of the world, we have been subject to great leaders and despots alike, whose reigns typically last a few decades at worst, months to years on average. We’ve never been subjugated by earthly rulers for eternity. Chains and bondage have repeatedly been broken. From Herod and Nero to Washington and Lincoln, the spectrum of historical leaders runs the gamut. One thing remains: from the moment we are born, we are given a death sentence, and world leaders are not immune to this process. Just as the revered will pass and are subject to the laws of Heaven, so too are the despots.
In the Old Testament Book of Samuel, the people of Israel, displeased with the self-enriching policies of Samuel’s sons, begged Samuel for a king. They did so because they grew envious of surrounding kingdoms and wanted a single authority who agreed with them to implement their desired policy prescriptions. God warned them that this would subject them to the whims of a singular authority who would demand a portion of their labor and their sons and daughters at his whim. They did not listen.
Much like ancient Israel, we, too, demand concentrated authority that will do our bidding, and we can finally arrive at our desired utopia. This is because it is much easier to persuade a singular authoritarian who thinks as we do than to go through democratic processes, stay involved within our communities, and rule from underneath as our Constitution prescribes. We treat our politics as a destination and not a process.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, it was written of Christ in the Book of Isaiah, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us, a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” There are two truths here that should not be missed. The first is that Christ alone is the singular ruler to have been born with a death sentence and overcome the process. The second is that we are reminded that regardless of our present circumstances, the ultimate authority rests on the shoulders of the Almighty. In the meantime, we endure the process, hopeful for the next but confident that our work is never finished.
Brian Parsons is a paleoconservative opinion columnist in Idaho, a proud husband and father, and saved by Grace. You can follow him at WithdrawConsent.org or find his opinion columns at the American Thinker, in the Idaho State Journal or in other regional publications.