Advent 2018 – Isaiah 8:20-9:7 – Waiting In Darkness

Some of the verses and phrases in Isaiah 9 are probably familiar to you, especially the ones about a Child being born and a Son begin given, about His name being called Wonderful Counselor, etc. We quote those verses a lot during the Christmas season, and they even appear on some of our Christmas cards. But we almost never understand them in the wider context of this passage in Isaiah.
In Genesis 12, God chose a man named Abram or Abraham and set him aside to be the grand patriarch of an entire nation, a very special nation, the nation from which and through whom a mighty Redeemer would come to the earth.
The nation of Israel, though, turned away from the Lord and began worshipping a golden calf. They became increasingly evil and corrupt. Isaiah predicted that within sixty-five years, the Northern Kingdom of Israel would be destroyed, wiped off the face of the earth. God determined to judge Israel for her idolatry, and He was going to raise up a mighty empire—the Assyrians—to defeat and destroy her.
Isaiah 8 is an amplification of this coming day of destruction. The last part of chapter 8 is Isaiah’s personal reaction to this terrible news that ten of the twelve tribes of his people would be wiped out. Look at the way chapter 8 ends: Then they (the Northern Kingdom of Israel or Ephraim) will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.
And so it happened that within just a few years the mighty Assyrian Empire descended like a night of terror on Palestine, destroyed the Northern Kingdom, and exiled the survivors to distant and forlorn places.
Now this is real history, but it is also symbolic. It’s a picture of what has happened to the entire human race. This is a picture of what has happened to us—to you and to me. Just like Israel, God made us and claimed us as His very own. But we have all turned away from Him. We have all served other gods. We have all descended into idolatry. And what happens when we turn away from God? Darkness descends over our lives. Gloom descends on our hearts. We see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish, and we are driven into darkness.
Now, of course, all this is given for a reason, for all of us are citizens of Galilee in a spiritual sense. All of us were made for God, but we have turned away, we have turned aside, we have descended into idolatry, and as a result darkness and death and gloom have descended on our lives and on our world. We appear to be beyond redemption.
But the Messiah emerged from the despised and disparaged land of Galilee for a reason—to show us that He came to redeem the unredeemable, so that we who have walked in darkness may see a great light. If He can restore the light and freedom and joy and life to Galilee after centuries of sin and ruin and judgment, think what He can do with you and me.
I wonder if you’re living in the Galilee of Gloom. I wonder if you need Him to come into your heart with everlasting light and life. I invite you to come to Jesus today. For the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. On those who have dwelt in the valley of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. For unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Rob Morgan

Read Isaiah 8:20-9:7. The people of Israel were waiting in a darkness for the coming Messiah. Do you remember the darkness that you waited in prior to coming to faith in Christ? Do you often reflect on this such that it would cause you to more fully delight in the Light?

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by King’s Kaleidoscope

Posted on: December 6, 2018 - 10:00PM

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