For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. (Isaiah 10:21)

Twice we find God referred to as “El Gibor,” translated like other phrases as “Mighty God.” Both times, Isaiah uses it to emphasize the military-like strength of God. With the Babylonians poised to war against Israel, Isaiah was God’s point man for warning of judgment. The Lord was not at all averse to using natural calamities (plagues, pestilence, famine, etc.) or even other nations to execute His justice against Israel when they sinned. Isaiah warned them of the latter, namely the Babylonians.

To be defeated in war in the ancient world was horrifying. The victorious nation had complete control and often ultimate caprice in how they treated the vanquished nation. The Babylonians, as was not unusual, not only destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Lord’s temple, but they enslaved the Jewish populous –indeed, the spoils of war included “free” laborers. It was the winners’ right, because of their might. That was the internationally understood rule of the day. Who was going to disagree with the victors?

What would cause God to warn through Isaiah and eventually bring about such drastic measures as military defeat and captivity in His dealings with Israel?

“Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him.” (Is 1:4)

“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” says the LORD … “I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats … So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Is 1:1115)

In the face of all this, God offers hope. He is the Mighty God, El Gibor, who can militarily destroy the Babylonians as easily as He can use them to punish Israel. He can and will save the remnant of the faithful, through the coming Messiah, for He is the Mighty God, El Gibor!

Lord, I know You can bring external judgments into my life if You desire. I thank You for Your grace and mercy, which give me hope even when I sin.