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? A(n) key/undertaking for experiencing the joy of Christmas is to choose...
Experiencing the Joy of Christmas-II—Isaiah 8:5—9:7
Gloom/Hopelessness/Melancholy/Depression/Despondency—Ahhhhh. The joyous sound 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.
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?
We found 4 keys/undertakings for experiencing the joy of Christmas were to
1.The UNASSUMING/Modest over the PRETENTIOUS/OSTENTATIOUS(8:5-10)
2. TRUTH over PARANOIA(8:11-15)
3. the OBVIOUS over OBSCURITY(8:16-18)
4. SIGHT over BLINDNESS(8:19-22)
5—A key to finding the joy of Christmas is to Choose...
LIGHT over DARKNESS(9:1-2)
:1—“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun & the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.”
The gloom now experienced by the nation(“her”) in distress/anguish is not permanent. This is because God will bring “light” to those who formerly had been dishonored/treated contemptuously in their having been overshadowed/distanced/outpaced by Judah & Israel.
This removal of the gloom & distress will specifically come to effect or rather arise from the areas of Zebulun & Naphtali. These areas were remote from Judah on the northern border of Israel & thus more subject to pagan influence. Thereby they became easy prey for Assyria(Tiglath-pileser) (2Kgs. 15:29) particularly in 733/732BC.
Isaiah’s prophecy specifically focuses & involves the area traveled(“by the way of the sea”)surrounding the Sea of Galilee & “beyond the Jordan”(eastward). It gets even more specific in naming the area as “Galilee” which is considered to be “of the Gentiles.” The Gentiles have a heavy influence upon this area of Israel.
Matthew gives direct application of Isaiah’s words to Jesus’ ministry being centered in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
Mat. 4:13-17—“And leaving Nazareth, He came & dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun & Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun & the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region & shadow of death Light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach & to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””
From the beginning these areas were dishonored but later He will glorify “the way of the sea.”
“Gloom/Dimness”(Compare 8:22)—Pewm muw`aph—1) Gloom, darkness. Strong—properly, Covered, i.e. Dark; abstractly, Obscurity, i.e. Distress:-- Dimness. From—Pwe `uwph—V.—1) To fly, fly about, fly away; or —N. f.—Gloom.
“Distressed/Vexation/Anguish”—quwm moo-tsak’—1) Constraint, distress. Strong–Narrowness; figuratively, Distress:-- Anguish, is straitened, straitness.
“Lightly esteemed/Lightly afflicted/Treated with contempt/Humbled”—(See 8:21—“Curse”)—llq kaw-lal’—Hiphil perfect—1) To be slight, be swift, be trifling, be of little account, be light—1e)—(Hiphil)—1e1) To make light, lighten, 1e2) To treat with contempt, bring contempt or dishonor. Strong—To be (causatively, make) light, literally (Swift, small, sharp, etc.) or figuratively (Easy, trifling, vile, etc.):-- Abate, make bright, bring into contempt, (ac-)curse, despise, (be) ease(-y, -ier), (be a, make, make somewhat, move, seem a, set) light(-en, -er, -ly, -ly afflict, -ly esteem, thing), X slight[-ly], be swift(-er), (be, be more, make, re-)vile, whet.
“Afterward”—Nwrxa ’acharown—1) Behind, following, subsequent, western. Strong—Hinder; generally, Late or last; specifically (as facing the east) Western:-- After (-ward), to come, following, hind(-er, -ermost, -most), last, latter, reareward, ut(ter)most.