Yesterday we considered the darkness that people get into by rejecting God’s Word, and true preaching such as Isaiah’s, and when they start dabbling in false religion; particularly when they splash around in the muddy waters of the occult. There was great darkness in Isaiah’s day, brought on through sin, the rejection of God’s revelation and turning to false gods. This would ultimately lead to the darkness of invasion and captivity. But when we step into to chapter 9 there is a huge contrast. Bright light floods the stage. In the darkest days of Israel’s history, the prophet Isaiah received this vision of light and hope, and it concerns the coming of Jesus.
God will save His faithful people in the end (1). A day will come in the future when He will once more give His people ”light”. In (1) Isaiah mentions the humbling of ”Zebulun” and ”Naphtali”, Israel’s two northernmost tribes. These were the first areas to be invaded by Assyria; they would also be the first to witness the ”light” of salvation in Christ. Jesus was to commence His ministry in northern Israel, in Capernaum, a Roman (Gentile) town on the Sea of Galilee. In this way God would ”honor Galilee of the Gentiles” (see Mt.4:12-15). Compare 9:2 with 8:20. The ”light” was Christ, who is the ”light of the world” (John 8:12). He is a ”light for the Gentiles” (Is.42:6; 49:6). It’s interesting to look at the tense Isaiah uses. He says the people in darkness ”have seen a great light”. Bible writers often spoke of future events in the past tense. They did so to indicate their complete certainty that their words would come true. If God says it, it’s as good as done already. Isaiah did not know when the Messiah would come, but he was sure that he would. Likewise we do not know when Jesus will come a second time (Mark 13:32, 33) but we know that He will. His Word says so repeatedly.
The enlarging of the nation (3) may well refer to the return from exile or the growth of Christ’s worldwide church. Perhaps both. There is going to be an ”increase of his government” (7). In (4, 5) Isaiah compares this future deliverance to Israel’s amazing victory over Midian, when God enabled three hundred Israelites to defeat a large and powerful army (Judges 7). But the means of this great future deliverance would not be a small army of 300; it would be a ”child”, a ”son” (6): a royal descendant of David (Matt.1:1), who would ”reign on David’s throne” (7). The coming of this Son would fulfil the promise God made to David that his throne would be ”established forever.” (2 Sam.7:16). Isaiah cannot have in mind merely a future great king of Judah. The person described here is God Himself (6). ‘’He’ll take over the running of the world.’’ The Message. He is the key to the growth of the church (3), the increase of joy (3b) and the releasing of ”their shoulders” (4). He is the One who has ”the government” on His (6). And He is God’s gift ”to us” (6).
”…he who has extended the dominion of Jesus to the furthest limits of his being, will know most of the peace that passeth understanding.” F.B.Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.272.
Prayer: Lord I ask for deliverance for your oppressed people who are under any yoke other than that of Christ. And in my life may I know the increase of your government and enjoy all the peace that goes with that.