Summary: In a world of hopelessness, There is Hope.
Isaiah was a prophet during very troubled times in Israel, war was always a part of their existence. Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah had split after Solomon died, the kings of Israel were not Godly men and as the Assyrians began to rise to prominence and then conquer areas around them, they needed to find ways to protect themselves from domination too.
You might say that Assyria was the only super power of that day, and they were not beneficent. Alliances were forged with Syria and others to try to stave off the Assyrian war machine. Yet there was a feeling in the land that there was really no hope, they would eventually fall to Assyria.
During the time of Paul we find Israel under the heel of Rome, actually this is what Isaiah knew as the kingdom of Judah the southern part of David’s Kingdom. This was a world living under the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome. Yet there was no peace for those under the Roman heel. The temple had been cleansed of the latest of the Roman moves to make it like their own temples, full of false gods and goddesses. They knew it was just a matter of time before God would be insulted again, there was of course rebellion afoot in the land. There were also those in other lands whom the Romans could not conquer, the empire itself was beginning to rot from within and the peace was not always very peaceful. There was even strife within the church of that day, between Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Sometimes it seemed as if the church was going to tear itself apart.
Today we live in a world that is constantly tearing at itself, there are people all around us who hate us because we are Americans and live debauched lives. There are those in the world who hate us because we are Christian or Jew. Within our own society we have hatreds between groups as well.
In the land where Isaiah lived and preached, the land where Paul learned about God, there is great strife and hatred. It is always interesting to me that these people who hate so much are the cousins of those they hate. Abraham was the father of 24 tribes. 12 from Ishmael and 12 from Isaac. Chapter 25 of Genesis gives the genealogy of Ishmael, and as we read further, we find that Esau the son of Isaac took a wife to himself from Ishmael. This is found in the 28th Chapter of Genesis.
Here in our own nation we also find strife, we hear hateful speech from all directions, and we hear those who would take away the freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard to attain. We find too those who hate God, and want to remove any mention of Him from our society. Inside the Church there are also movements that would remove Christ from the Godhead, make him a man, a great teacher but only a man. There are those who speak against the scriptures saying that there are parts that are untrue, so that none of it is trustworthy. This too has been tried over and again in the history of the Church. Yet there is also the word of God that says to us this truth, Jesus Christ is to be born in a place little known, called Bethlehem, the city of David in the time before he became King.