Isaiah 9:1-7 (NKJV)
Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have 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 warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Today we take a look at God’s message of hope and of the Messiah. In light of the previous passage of the death and destruction that Assyria will bring, God talks about a time where there will be no more gloom. Note that this references a time where God humbled the land of Zebulun and Naphtali (North Israel) but also a time in the future where Galilee would be honoured. Interestingly, this situates the passage after the siege of Assyria on the Northern kingdom. The chronology here is once again somewhat strange. Regardless, the idea is quite straightforward: because the Northern tribes suffered first, they would receive the Messiah first. Jesus after all, started in Galilee. God is fair; He does not do things indiscriminately but ensures that everyone gets their rightful place whether in punishment or reward. The poetry introduces this idea that those who walk in the darkness will be able to see a light. It hints to the dark place that the people have landed themselves in and the fact that they are basically going around without actually knowing where they are headed. Yet the light dawns and with that metaphor, we are introduced to the concept of Jesus as the light of the world coming down into darkness. Instead of sorrow, which was probably what was occurring throughout Israel at that point in time, there would be rejoicing; as if at a harvest or when warriors divide their plunder. It would be a joyous occasion. Remember that this isn't necessarily a prediction of things to come, but a proclamation of how it would be. Prophesies are less of future sight and more of divine proclamations about a future to come. Understanding prophesies in that light helps us comprehend better why this doesn’t actually occur when Jesus comes. It does, but not in the same manner that Isaiah seems to be speaking of. Isaiah goes on to talk about Midian’s defeat and how that unshackled the burdens of Israel. Remember that in Gideon’s time, he had to go against the Midianites with merely 300. The victory was joyous and complete but at the same time a great demonstration of God’s power and presence with Israel. The language used here in context speaks volumes: “you have shattered the yoke that burdens them”. There will be no more fighting, for “every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire”. No longer would Israel be entrenched in an everlasting feud, but there would be deliverance. Of course, we know that there was still much bloodshed over the years, but the point here is not about actual wars. It is about peace that comes from the birth of Christ, which is talked about proceedingly. “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. Note that even at this point, Isaiah signifies Jesus as not merely a ruler but God himself. Christ is not merely the deliverance. He is the embodiment of God come down to deliver us.
Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections. Daniel is in the Young Professionals ministry of the Central Christian Church.