The Zeal of God

Isaiah 9:6,7
       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, Counsellor, 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.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): The context contains a glorious prediction of the coming and kingdom of the Messiah, a part of which we have already seen accomplished…There is one part of the prophecy, however, which yet remains to be fulfilled, and an important part, too; so important as to interest the very heart of God.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): By zeal I understand that ardent desire which God will display in preserving His church, by removing all difficulties and obstructions which might otherwise have hindered its redemption. When we engage in any difficult undertaking, our earnestness, and the warmth of our feelings, overcome the difficulties which present themselves to baffle or retard our attempts. In like manner Isaiah shows that God is inflamed with an uncommon and extraordinary desire to promote the salvation of the church…In short, he intimates that God will come with no light or slow arm to redeem his church, for He will be all on flame with an amazing love of believers, and anxiety about their salvation.

ANDREW FULLER: Nor is this all. There is an increase in the government of the Messiah which has not yet been carried to its full extent. We have seen Him sitting upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it, with judgment and with justice; but we have not yet seen judgment sent forth unto victory. Christ has yet to conquer a large portion of heathen superstition, Mahomedan delusion, popish corruption, Jewish obstinacy, and deistical malignity.―Much has already come to pass, and the zeal of the Lord of hosts is pledged for the fulfilment of what remains.

JOHN CALVIN: If believers cannot measure by their own capacity what He has just now promised, still they ought not to cease to entertain confident hope, for the manner of it is wonderful and inconceivable.

ANDREW FULLER: The Scriptures represent the Divine Being as engaged in the establishment of His own cause. It occupied His thoughts before the worlds were made. His infinite wisdom was exercised concerning it; “rejoicing in the habitable part of the earth; and its delights were with the sons of men,” [Proverbs 8:22-31]. All His other works have been pursued in subserviency to this. The work to be accomplished by Christ is that great work to which all others are preparatory; for all things were created not only by Him, but for Him.
      Now if such has been the zeal of Jehovah’s mind in the fulfilment of this great cause; if it has occupied His thoughts before the worlds were made―if He rejoiced in the contemplation of its issue―if all His other works were pursued in subserviency to it―and if the greatest sacrifices have been made to accomplish it―may we not hence form a judgment of the force of that sacred pledge that is given us for every part of it being in due time carried into execution. The zeal of the Lord of hosts, under whose banner we fight, ought undoubtedly to stimulate ours. It is the distinguishing character of a Christian to be of one heart with God and with Christ; this was the object of our Saviour’s intercessory prayer, that we all might be one―Can we conceive of any encouragement to Christian activity equal to this?

SELINA HASTINGS, COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON (1707-1791): None know how to prize Christ but those who are zealous in good works.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): A zealous Saviour ought to have zealous disciples.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Let us reciprocate, by being zealous of good works, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. And when Satan telleth us of our no merits, tell we him that the “zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do it” notwithstanding.

R. L. DABNEY (1820-1898): The gospel teaches us that while believers are not rewarded on account of their works, they are rewarded according to their works.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Can we too much abound in zeal and diligence in the Lord’s work, when we are assured of such abundant recompenses in a future life? What vigour and resolution, what constancy and patience, should those hopes inspire!

WILLIAM CAREY (1761-1834): Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If by excessive zeal we die before reaching the average age of man, worn out in the Master’s service, then glory to God, we shall have so much less of earth and so much more of heaven.

ANDREW FULLER: The zeal of prophets, apostles, and martyrs animates us; the efforts to spread the gospel among all denominations of serious Christians provokes us; and the disinterested love of those who have left all to bear the name of Christ amongst the heathen excites in us a lively hope that some good fruits will follow; but what is that to the zeal of the Lord of hosts? The great cause in which we are engaged lies nearer His heart than ours. Our little fires were kindled at His altar, and are fed by Him continually. We are damped by difficulties, and dismayed by repeated disappointments, but He is not dismayed.

JOSEPH BELCHER (1794-1859): A few months before his death, Andrew Fuller visited Birmingham on behalf of [William Carey’s India] Mission.* He was scarcely able to ascend the pulpit, or to speak so as to be heard. He addressed the people for about a quarter of an hour, and [spoke those words]. I shall never forget the impression produced, especially when he uttered with deep feeling the words, “We lose our strength in this service;―we cannot act out our zeal by reason of infirmities and death; but He always lives―never grows weak; and we die rejoicing in the thought that “the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this.”

HUDSON TAYLOR (1832-1905): There is a living God. He has spoken in His Word. He means just what He says and will do all that He has promised.

WILLIAM CAREY: Well, I have God, and His Word is true. God’s cause will triumph…When I reflect on how God has stirred me up to the work, and wrought wonders to prepare my way, I can trust His promises and be at peace.

*Editor’s Note: Andrew Fuller, along with William Carey, John Ryland, and John Sutcliffe founded the Baptist Missionary Society in 1792. The following year, the Society sent William Carey and John Thomas as their first missionaries to India. Although better known as the “father of modern missions,” William Carey’s greatest achievement was his Bible translation work. During his lifetime, Carey’s Indian Mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or in part in 44 different languages and dialects.


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