Summary: In the book of Isaiah, God has been prophesying judgement and destruction upon the nation of Israel. Then all of a sudden, this wonderful prophecy is given - a prophecy about a child who will deliver them from the darkness. As Christians we know this pr
Isaiah 9:1-7 (8:23-6 Hebrew and Czech Bibles)
(This message was preached shortly before Christmas, 2003, in a church in the Czech Republic, my wife Marcela’s native country. The message was translated into Czech.)
In a week and a half’s time it will be Christmas. What does Christmas mean to you? Hopefully, if you are a follower of Christ, it means a celebration of Jesus Christ being born. Jesus who was not just man, but God. Jesus, who after growing up and ministering for three years, died on a cross – for us. Jesus, whose death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, brought eternal life for those who believe in Him. But what do people outside this church think of during this Christmas season? What does Christmas mean to them? The Catholics, like us, celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. But do they really believe in Him as the one who has died for our sins? Others also believe in Jesus, but not in the Jesus we know. They believe in a Jesus who comes and gives gifts on Christmas – but this is not the Jesus of the Bible. For others, Christmas is a family time. For others, it is a time for parties and exchanging gifts. Christmas is also becoming increasingly commercialised. It is hard to see the real Jesus in Christmas for most people. This problem is not just at Christmas. In fact, most people in the world don’t pay much attention to Jesus at all.
Since we were last here in Oldrichovice in early 2001, many things in the world have changed. Later in 2001, the world was shocked as hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Centre in New York. In retaliation, the Americans invaded Afghanistan, and then Iraq. Many people in the world today feel a lot more insecure that they did a few years ago. There is talk of terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction and Al-Qaida has become a household term. The world certainly appears to be in the shadow of darkness. Now of course, people in countries racked by war and destruction know that darkness more than we do. But still, in places like the Czech Republic and Australia, people do feel that the world is a worse place that it was a few years ago. The world is a dark place. We live under the shadow of potential destruction. Yet where do people turn to in these times? Do they turn to God? A few do, but most don’t. Some turn to the false gods of other religions. Some turn to the occult, seeking mediums and tarot cards for answers. Others turn to inner enlightenment and human self-help methods. But is there any true light in these dark times?
Today we are going to look at a passage of the Bible which describes a similar situation. Well, actually, a situation that was a lot worse than what we live in, but perhaps something similar to the situation in many of the war zones of our world. Would you please turn in your Bibles with me to Isaiah. We are going to read from chapter 8 verse 23 through to chapter 9 verse 6. Marcela will read now from Isaiah chapter 8 verse 23.
[Is 8:23-9:6 (Czech & Hebrew), 9:1-7 (English & Greek)]