Behold Our Coming Savior (Isaiah 9)

MOTIVATE

Darkness can be disastrous.

Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or somewhere else in the house, only to miscalculate where was the end of the bed and hit your toe? That can be a major miscalculation and make you want to lose your religion! The solution for being able to walk in darkness is to have a small but visible light in the room at night time to help you see in case you walk in darkness.

Spiritually speaking, living in the world is as if we are walking in darkness and if we fail to have the light of Jesus then we will have major miscalculations and darkness will be disastrous.

The prophet Isaiah speaks about the light of our coming Savior that helps us in the midst of darkness. behold-our-coming-savior_dec-2016

EXAMINE           Isaiah 9:1-7

Our coming Savior will give deliverance in our darkness (Isa 9:1-3).
In 722 B.C. the northern kingdom of Israel faced an evil and aggressive Assyrian empire. They were too powerful and would defeat Israel. Land would be captured, loved ones killed and legacy shamed and humbled. Judah followed the 10 northern tribes of Israel into ungodliness. Rather than pursuing God and seeking righteousness, the people fell into sinful rebellion, corruption, rote religion, consulting mediums, and the like. Because of their actions God brought judgment upon the people. YET, in the midst of despair and darkness God gave them a prophet to share hope and light.

Isaiah said, “The people will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.” (8:21-22).

The Assyrian army invaded the land of Judah, tribal territories of Zebulun and Naphtali or more commonly known in NT as Galilee, leaving the land famished, empty and in total darkness; left alone, there was little hope in Judah (Isa 9:1-2). But God is faithful to his covenant (Gen 12:1-3, Psalm 105:8-11)

In God’s time these lands would be re-made glorious and multiply as a nation, and the people would see a great light (cf. Isa 9:2-3; Matthew 4:12-17). God would not leave Israel alone. He promised to intervene with a deliverer to save Israel. In exile there was despair but God would transform it into joy, as the rejoicing of a great harvest (Isa 9:3).

Jesus walked and worked in the land of darkness, and He does so in our life today.

 

Our coming Savior will give deliverance in our bondage (Isa 9:4-7).
Isaiah prophesied of a day when Israel would overcome its oppression as God delivered Israel from the Egyptians, and Midianites. War will cease because of the reign of a great child-king. Isaiah’s prophecy is unique to promise God giving to Israel a son whom will bear the world’s governments and establish peace, justice, and righteousness forevermore.

The great child-king’s deliverance is due to the character of his name:

–        Wonderful in counsel. Our coming Savior’s counsel is wonderfully different in not giving us advice but good news. Advice is an opinion; news is based in historical fact. Our Savior’s coming is rooted in history in His birth, life, death, and resurrection. So, the response we receive for our greatest problem is to enter the presence and relationship with the Wonderful Counselor.

o   à How do we know if we need a counselor? If we face darkness or difficulty then we need a counselor – that’s everyone! Our response to the counselor must be openness and obedience if His work is to be effective in our life. Don’t hide or dismiss His probing.

 

–        Divine Might. Our coming Savior is “el gibbor” (a warrior and champion). The name “Mighty God” conjures up military battleground imagery. The Old Testament is a continuous story of God’s people battling their enemies. Isaiah says that all the soldier’s boots and garments will be burned up and the Mighty God-child will bring peace. His peace will establish a kingdom that will be no match for any future enemy, forevermore.

–        No one votes Him in, no one can vote Him out!

–        Victory will be full and complete, never needing repeated, only remembered.

 

El gibbor is a distinct title for God:

Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.”

Nehemiah 9:32 “our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love…”

Job 36:5 “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any; he is mighty in strength of understanding”

Psalm 89:8-13 “O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them… The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. The north and the south, you have created them;… You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.”

Jeremiah 32:18 “You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God., whose name is the Lord of hosts.” 

Revelation 19:6 “Then [John] heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.’”

 

Isaiah prophesies that our coming Savior is mighty in birth,

Isa 7:14 “the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Isa 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.”[1] 

Mighty in his life,

Isaiah prophecies about the child’s role.

–        From gloom (8:21) to joy (9:4)

–        From anguish (9:1) to rejoicing (9:4)

–        From oppression (9:1) to yoke broken – freedom (9:3)

–        From darkness to light (9:2)

–        From battle (9:5) to peace (9:7)

–        “a son is given to us” (9:6) – this child would be for the benefit of all Israel.

 

“[Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.” Matthew 4:23-25

 

Mighty in his death,

Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

Mighty in his resurrection.

Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him, he has put him to grief, when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days, the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

God’s people will remember that Jesus fought a battle like no other in history. Jesus is not just a meager baby but mighty God. His battle was more fierce than Valley Forge, greater than Gettysburg. It was more decisive than D-Day. The Mighty God captured victory at Calvary by engaging the power of sin and Satan. Death, the grave and Hell was defeated and an empty tomb is gloriously displayed as the hope of the world. The shoulders that bear the government of the world are the same one’s that bore the cross of Calvary for your sin.

 

–        Everlasting Fatherhood. Our coming Savior will reign forever. While we may have difficulty understanding the personhood of the Trinity: Father-Son-Spirit, we can still affirm the divinity of each person who is mysterious but magnificent in being.

 

Isaiah says, “you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name” (63:16b). “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (64:8).

 

Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” John 14:9-11

 

Scripture teaches there is only one God and that we are not to have any others. Yet, each of these persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – are understood to be uniquely God.[2]

Isaiah 45:21 “And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me”[3]

 

  • Trinity is not 3 Gods – polytheism / not 3 forms/modes (denies personhood) / not 3+ levels of Godhood – subordinationism/Jesus not fully divine (Jehovah Witness, Mormons, etc.).

 

Nicene Creed

“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance (homoousion) with the Father; by whom all things were made; who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets.

And one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen”

 

–        Prince of Peace. Our coming Savior will grant rest for the weary, freedom for the oppressed, and peace for the battle-worn. Jesus’ peace does not come from the absence or avoidance of conflict but from his addressing it in the cross. God’s peace is not about the absence of difficulty but the presence of divinity with us in the midst of darkness and domain oppression; He is our Immanuel (God with us).

 

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” (John 8:12; 14:27)

 

Ephesians 2:14, “For [Christ] is our peace, [he] has made us one [with God]… And [Christ comes to preach] peace to you who [are] far…”

 

Colossians 1:20 “[Christ] makes peace by the blood of his cross.”

 

Through faith in Jesus, as Son of God and Son of Man dying for sin, we receive peace with God.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

 

APPLY/THINK

The language in Isaiah 9 is all past tense. The prophet speaks to what God will accomplish through the nation of Assyria and Babylon in His sovereign discipline of Israel and Judah. God’s work is viewed as completed in the prophet’s view. However, there is also a promise and perspective of future hope “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this”.

 

In other words, yes, there will be darkness to endure and a world dominion to persevere, but God will bring an end and make all things right. We celebrate Christmas not just to remind us of the first advent but of a second advent yet to come.

Our faith is a sign of trust in God’s past and future work.

 

[1] Isaiah, rather than saying “…and to us a son is born” says “and to us a son is given” referring back to this virgin born child in 7:14.

[2] See Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pp.226-261 for a full discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity. He offers 3 summary statements: 1) God is three persons. 2) Each person is fully God. 3) There is one God.

[3] See also Isaiah 45:5-6, 21-22, 44:6-8.

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