Advent Series Day 8: Isaiah 9:1-7

December 12, 2017

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 9:1-7
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

Questions for Children:

What new role was given to the Promised One in yesterday’s reading?

Who are these verses talking about?

What are some of the clues that help us know these verses are talking about the Promised One?

Explanation and Meditation:
God commissioned Isaiah as his prophet just before the Northern Kingdom was sent away into their Assyrian exile. He was God’s mouthpiece and pen to warn Judah that the same fate awaited them if they did not return to him. And so Isaiah’s words are largely words of judgment. As a nation, Judah went through the motions of the sacrificial system, but their hearts were very far from God. Their priests were some of the worst among them. Justice had been perverted resulting in the oppression of the poor, the widow and orphans. God had been abandoned, and the idols of the heathen nations embraced. The snake’s sickness had a choke hold on their hearts and so they–like their fathers in the wilderness before them, and like Adam in the garden before that–rebelled against God and sided with the snake.

Isaiah ran out of words and paper and breath and still God’s people would not listen. They could not believe that God would send them out of their precious land and away from their grand temple into exile so they stubbornly persisted in their rebellion. But even though his people plugged their ears, God would not let judgment be the final word.

After all, he had promised that this rebellious nation would be a blessing to the all the nations of the earth and that their King would rule the whole world. So Isaiah’s message weaves a thread of hope into the tapestry alongside the cords of judgement. Today’s text is one of those threads. Exile is certain, but will not be the final word. Because into the darkness of their exile, a great light would shine! Joy would overtake them. There would be triumph over their oppressors, and peace at last. And how would all this come about? The images of war and oppression and victory and peace come to an abrupt halt when Isaiah announces the birth of a baby boy. We might expect another prophecy about a magnificent king, but here instead we recall God’s ancient promise that this rescuer would be from the seed of the woman. His debut in this world would come in the normal and humble human way. But that child would grow to shoulder the weight of the world’s governance. He would mature to a King worthy of the titles of “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”

In the layering of these titles, it might be easy to miss that this human King will be called Mighty God. But in that title we get the first hint of the coming King’s divinity. His humanity has often been spoken of, but now we know that God himself will freely share his name with this man. And this man will rule the world in righteousness and justice, sharing the character of the One whose name he bears.

Song of Reflection: What Child is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkeys are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the Son of Mary.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

 

 

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