2092.) Isaiah 9

I9 nativity

Isaiah 9   (ESV)

For to Us a Child Is Born

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.

These areas, the northern regions of the Promised Land, around the Sea of Galilee, were the most severely devastated by the Assyrian invasion. Isaiah says that one day, they will see the first dawn of God’s new day. Matthew quotes this passage as clearly fulfilled in the Galilean ministry of Jesus.

I9 great light

Before the dawning day
Let sin be put to flight;
No longer let the law hold sway
But walk in freedom’s light.

You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.

I9 baby
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art,
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor,

“Why, you may have a friend that talks very sweetly with you, and you will say, ‘Well, he is a kind, good soul, but I really cannot trust his judgment.’ You have another friend, who has a good deal of judgment, and yet you say of him, ‘Certainly, he is a man of prudence above a great many, but I cannot find out his sympathy; I never get at his heart, if he were ever so rough and untutored, I would sooner have his heart without his prudence, than his prudence without his heart,’ But we go to Christ, and we get wisdom; we get love, we get sympathy, we get everything that can possibly be wanted in a Counsellor.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Mighty God,

“If Christ were not the Son of God, his death, so far from being a satisfaction for sin, was a death most richly and righteously deserved. The Sanhedrin before which He was tried was the recognized and authorized legislature of the country. He was brought before that Sanhedrin, charged with blasphemy, and it was upon that charge that they condemned him to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

“Whenever, in short, it appears to us that everything is in a ruinous condition, let us recall to our remembrance that Christ is called Wonderful, because he has inconceivable methods of assisting us, and because his power is far beyond what we are able to conceive. When we need counsel, let us remember that he is the Counselor. When we need strength, let us remember that he is Mighty and Strong. When new terrors spring up suddenly every instant, and when many deaths threaten us from various quarters, let us rely on that eternity of which he is with good reason called the Father, and by the same comfort let us learn to soothe all temporal distresses. When we are inwardly tossed by various tempests, and when Satan attempts to disturb our consciences, let us remember that Christ is The Prince of Peace, and that it is easy for him quickly to allay all our uneasy feelings. This will these titles confirm us more and more in the faith of Christ, and fortify us against Satan and against hell itself.”

–John Calvin

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord!  Your people pray:
Come quickly, King of Kings!

_________________________

Music:

Can you read this without hearing Handel’s music?!  Here is “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from Messiah, Stephen Cleobury conducting The Brandenburg Consort and The Choir Of King’s College Cambridge.  Click  HERE  to listen and worship.

_________________________

Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression

This section (Isaiah 9:8-10:4) is in four parts, each part concluding with the refrain “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out (in judgment) still.” Some have called this section, “The Speech of the Outstretched Hand.”

Unmoved by previous punishment, Israel threatens in pride and arrogance to rebuild more gloriously than ever (The ordinary houses are gone — now we will build palaces!). But the Lord promises that they will be attacked by the Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west:

The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place.”
11 But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
and stirs up his enemies.
12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

The prophet further warns of the wholesale destruction of the population, from the honored elder to the prophet who teaches lies:

13 The people did not turn to him who struck them,
nor inquire of the Lord of hosts.
14 So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail,
palm branch and reed in one day—
15 the elder and honored man is the head,
and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.
17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,
and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;
for everyone is godless and an evildoer,
and every mouth speaks folly.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

Because of general wickedness, the land is consumed with the fire of civil war, anarchy, famine, looting, even cannibalism:

18 For wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes briers and thorns;
it kindles the thickets of the forest,
and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
the land is scorched,
and the people are like fuel for the fire;
no one spares another.
20 They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
each devours the flesh of his own arm,
21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
together they are against Judah.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

The judgment against Israel’s wickedness was not enough. There was still sin to judge, and God wasn’t ready to stop His work of judgment.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
For to us a child is born.   http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2099/2132390675_053774e39f.jpg
The people who walk in darkness.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/isaiah9_2.jpg
baby.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/isaiah9-6_ashx.jpg
outstretched hand.    http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m49/clbruno/hand_reaching.jpg
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