Summary: Isaiah described a future state wherein the gloom which had engulfed the people would be dismissed outright. The gloom of a sin-sick world can be dismissed. But How can it be? 7 keys/undertakings for experiencing the joy of Christmas are...
Experiencing the Joy of Christmas-I—Isaiah 8:5—9:7
Gloom/Hopelessness/Melancholy/Depression/Despondency— Uncle Fred’s coming this year, We just can’t afford it, Overdrawn?, again!, Oh no!, I can’t believe this has happening, I wish this would all go away....Ahhhhh. The joyous sounds of Christmas. These happen when our holiday expectations collide with the reality of squabbling in-laws, dysfunctional family members, whining children, bickering teenagers, hurried gift-searching, depleted bank accounts & maxed-out credit cards.
—The religion of Christian Science tells us that there is no such thing as pain. That it is an illusion. What a joke!
Christmas is a time when we notice with particular clarity, those without jobs, health, houses, families & their pain is somehow transferred to & felt in our lives. We know their pain & we know the reality of living in a sin-sick world. We know the reality of mental, emotional & physical deprivation. It bears upon us with all its fullness during these times. The joy of others seems so blatantly out of place in the midst of the pain & sorrow this world offers. That’s the reality of Christmas for many people. Christmas is a profoundly sad time for these.
But it does not have to be that way. And it should never be that way. Yes, we are expected as God’s people, to meet the plight of the downtrodden, the helpless the sick, the hurting, the unstable.
If we lived the way we can in Christ, we & others would experience the utter joy of Christmas. Most of the aforementioned despondencies would be done away with, dismissed, dispensed with—not temporarily—but for the rest of our lives & the rest of theirs as well.
There is one factor we absolutely must consider above all others when it comes to dismissing the gloom of our lives....That leveling factor is God thru Christ!
Isaiah described a future state wherein the gloom which had engulfed the people would be dismissed outright.
The gloom of a sin-sick world can be dismissed.
How is the gloom of a sin-sick world to be dismissed?
7 keys/undertakings for experiencing the joy of Christmas.
1—A key to experience the joy of Christmas is to Choose...
The UNASSUMING/Modest over the PRETENTIOUS/OSTENTATIOUS(8:5-10)
Pretentious—Eng.—Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed. Making usually unjustified or excessive claims (as of value or standing).
Ostentatious—Eng.—Characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; Designed to impress or attract notice. Marked by or fond of conspicuous or vainglorious & sometimes pretentious display.
:5—“The LORD also spoke to me again, saying:
The “me” is Isaiah himself. YaHoVeH speaks to Isaiah “again” as He spoken often to the prophet. Isaiah has immediately previous to verse 5, been informed that the riches & spoil of Damascus & Samaria will be taken by the Assyrian king(:1-4).
Bkgd.—This king would have been Tiglath-Pileser III(Pul) who ~738BC imposed severe tribute on the area(including Damascus & Israel). This tribute pushed Rezin(king of Damascus—from 740) ) to retaliate with an alliance including Israel(northern kingdom), Arab states, Phoenicia & Philistia. Ahaz of Judah refused to join the alliance against Assyria, inviting the alliance’s attack. Ahaz appealed to Assyria’s Tiglath-Pileser III who quashed the alliance in 733/32 BC.
:6—“Inasmuch as these people refused The waters of Shiloah that flow softly, And rejoice in Rezin & in Remaliah’s son;”
The people of Israel(& Judah) generally took lightly the seemingly ineffectual( “flow softly”) but steady stream of Shiloah(Siloam)—which arose from the Gihon spring on the west side of Jerusalem & emptying into the Kidron Valley on the east side.
This is a depiction of the political climate of the time, choosing to trust political entities rather than YaHoVeH.
Further evidence of this is that they took pleasure in foreign kings exemplified in their trusting “Rezin”(of Damascus—See :5 Bkgd.) for their strength as well as “Remaliah’s son”(one ‘Pekah’ a king of northern kingdom of Israel) who was not a descendant of David & thus was unqualified to rightfully claim the throne.
Refused”—oam maw-as'—1) To reject, despise, refuse—1b) (Niphal) To be rejected; 2) (Niphal) To flow, run. Strong—To spurn; also (intransitively) to Disappear:-- Abhor, cast away (off), contemn, despise, disdain, (become) loathe(some), melt away, refuse, reject, reprobate, X utterly, vile person.
“Rejoice”—swsm maw-sowce'—1) Exultation, joy, rejoicing. Stroing—Delight, concretely (the cause or object) or abstractly (the feeling):-- Joy, mirth, rejoice.
:7—“Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them The waters of the River, strong & mighty-- The king of Assyria & all his glory; He will go up over all his channels And go over all his banks.”
Because Israel had trusted in the political strengths of the heathen, having not been satisfied with what they had, YaHoVeH will now bring deep waters over them, which they had sought. Rather than the quiet sanctity of a spring, they will experience all the power of the Euphrates at flood stage in the strength & might of Assyria as they bring destruction, brutality & fear upon Israel.