Summary: Isaiah describes the Christmas Gift with four titles that speak to the ministry of Jesus, our Christmas Gift.
The Gift of Christmas:
There is a heaviness hanging like a cloud over many hearts this Christmas Season. The sounds of Christmas joy are muffled by the kettle drum beats of fear, loneliness, and uncertainty. Hearts that were once full of joy, excitement, and expectation are hollow and the emptiness wrings out the soul. Many are the scenarios that could be shared this morning, but those who are experiencing the emotions that I am describing don’t need a scenario, they are living the story of heaviness as we speak.
Where do we turn when the doctor says, “I’m sorry. There is nothing more that we can do.” Where do we turn when your husband or wife says, “I want out and there is nothing you can say to change my mind.” Where do we turn when the boss says, “I’m sorry, but we need to make some cut-backs at this time.” Where do we turn when nothing brings us satisfaction and the thought of cashing in our chips lingers in the back of our minds? Where do we turn when we’ve turned in every possible direction looking for answers, some solution, or some sense of calm in the midst of the storm?
Some seek to escape. A night out, a binge, a spending frenzy, an affair, a solution at the end of a barrel of a gun, or a handful of pills—that will take care of the pain. Others seek alliances. If I can only find somebody to bail me out, or if nothing else, to simply tell me that I am right and justified—that will bring what I’ve been looking for. Still others seek flight. The old, “I’m outta here” mentality. All of these so-called solutions to the pain and fear that have gripped the human heart for thousands of years have been tried, but they have failed. They have all failed! Oh, they may have been thought of as a panacea for the predicaments we find ourselves faced with in life, but in actuality they were merely a placebo for what ails us. We may lead ourselves to believe that placebos eradicate our emotional wastelands, but in actuality they place us in even more perilous predicaments.
This morning we are going to continue our study of Isaiah 9:1-7. We began this study last week by examining the first of the four titles Isaiah gives to the promised Christmas gift—the Wonderful Counselor. This morning we will spend our time examining the second of these wondrous titles—He is the Mighty God. As we begin our study let’s read together once again from Isaiah 9:1-7.
1Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:1-7 NIV)
These seven little verses of Scripture are full of such hope for you and me if we will just take the time to dig beneath the surface and seek to allow the Lord to teach us what was going on at the time that they were written. The problem for many of us is this: when the curtain of darkness surrounds us and weighs heavy upon our hearts, then we lose sight of everything other than the fear and pain that we are experiencing. In the midst of our fear and pain we are not instructed by the truths of God’s Word, we are tragically led by our own inner compass that cries out for relief at any price.
Let me give you an example from the period in which this Scripture was written. We talked last week about the four kings who reigned during Isaiah’s forty year ministry in the land. In Isaiah 1:1 we read the names of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. In Isaiah 6:1 we read about the vision that Isaiah received in the “year that King Uzziah died.” In Isaiah 7:1, Isaiah skips right over Jotham’s sixteen year administration. He turns his attention to king Ahaz and the darkness that began to fall on the nation of Judah.