“WHAT THE PROPHET SAID” Isaiah 9:2-7
FBCF – 12/6/20
INTRO – Michael Nanney last week – “Just trying to figure out what to do.” That statement sums up 2020. We’re all just trying to figure out what to do.
But one thing we are going to do, & always do, is worship Jesus Christ, our Savior! No matter what life throws at us for the remainder of this year, next year, or any year for the rest of our lives, we will continue to worship & praise the Lord!
Magazine article in JAN. of this year – “What are you most looking forward to in 2020?”
- “I’m looking forward to the music festivals I’ll be attending w/ my friends. Great music, lots of dancing, & hopefully sunshine!” - I wonder if they were able to go to the festivals?
- “The birth of a grandchild. I can’t wait to meet our new arrival & to witness our son parenting for the first time.” I wonder if they were able to be there when the baby was born?
- One reader is planning holidays to new destinations & excited about exploring new places.
- Another is looking forward to a year of better health. She writes, “After several illnesses and health issues in the family recently, 2020 has to be better!“
11 months ago, these seemed like reasonable expectations – now, not so much. Who would have predicted what was ahead?
For many, 2020 has been a dark year – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, even spiritually. People have lost loved ones, their jobs, their security & their health. Some have lost their faith, their zeal for the Lord, their desire to stay connected to His FAMILY, the Church, & serve Him.
Does this mean Christmas should be cancelled? No. The real Christmas happens in the darkness.
Look forward to birth of the Messiah!
EXPLANATION – Isaiah 9:2-7
Chapter 8 ends on a gloomy, depressing note. Look at Isaiah 8:20-22 in the NLT - “20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. 21 They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven 22 and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.”
This shows the condition of Israel, the people of God. In Isaiah’s day, God had allowed them to be invaded. He allowed their temple to be destroyed, their homes to be burned, & their enemies to drive them far from the land they loved.
But not only do these verses show the condition of Israel, it shows the condition of every person who is living their life apart from Christ:
- “completely in the dark”
- Wandering “weary & hungry”
- Raging & cursing God
- Trouble, anguish, & dark despair everywhere
- Living in darkness
It’s against this backdrop of the blackness of the gloom & despair that Isaiah made this pronouncement in v. 1: “But [Nevertheless] there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish…” What a breath of fresh air! What a word of encouragement! There is hope. There is something coming that is going to change the outlook & the circumstances, & that something is someone! Isaiah 9:2 is one of the most well-known of all Christmas verses is written by the prophet Isaiah, predicting a Christmas to come: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them a light has shone.” They are people walking in darkness, but Isaiah tells them that light is coming; help is coming; hope is coming; life is coming! In verse 6 he tells them who that Light is: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.”
APPLICATION – Think about what it means for our lives right now that Jesus has come. In the midst of all the difficulty around us & the trials we are having to endure, we need to focus on Jesus all the more!
WHEN WE ARE WALKING IN DARKNESS - LIGHT COMES
The darkness we are walking in these days is nearly overwhelming at times.
- Daddy’s Alzheimer’s – Sundowners syndrome – increased agitation & anxiety. Restless. Sometimes irritable. More confused than normal.
- As darkness increased, so did the symptoms of sundowning. So hard on Mama & the rest of us.
Many of us are suffering from a sort of “spiritual sundowners’ syndrome.” As the darkness increases around us, we find ourselves growing more anxious, more fearful, more vulnerable & susceptible to temptation.
Good News: Jesus will never leave us in the darkness! He has already provided a way out of whatever darkness you & I find ourselves in. THAT’S WHY HE CAME!
- Sometimes the darkness is caused by sin that we’ve allowed into our lives – Romans 13:12 – “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
- Sometimes the darkness is caused by confusion that has come into our lives – Psalm 119:105 – “Thy Word is a lamp…”
- Sometimes the darkness is fear that is creeping into our lives – Psalm 27:1 – “The Lord is my light & my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
- Sometimes the darkness is caused by loneliness that we are experiencing b/c of loss in our lives – Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
One writer said this: “What is the darkness? It’s suffering, and death and sickness and grief. But it’s more. I don’t actually want the light — because I know that if I look within, I’ll see something ugly. There’s a darkness in the world, and a darkness in me too.
But this is the great news of Christmas. God sees our mess and He comes to us. He enters our broken world to be light in our darkness.
We ALL have to go through dark times, but in the midst of it we have hope. A God who defeated the darkness at the cross. A God who joins us in our darkness – and who promises he will lead us out. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” (https://emmascrivener.net/2020/11/christmas-is-for-dark-times/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_campaign=0&utm_content=5575)
WHEN WE ARE WALKING IN DOOM - LIFE COMES
Sometimes the darkness gets to a point that it crosses a line & a sense of doom – even death – overtakes you. Satan’s tactics against us are always directed at our minds. He wants to get us focused on thoughts of doom, of death, of hopelessness, of futility. He wants the “shadow of death” to come over us & draw us away from the light & life that our relationship w/ Jesus gives us.
When Jesus came into the world in that stable in Bethlehem, He brought life-giving light into a world that was stuck in darkness & death. If we had planned out how Jesus was going to come into the world, we probably would have had this majestic, conquering King come blasting out of heaven into the world where everyone could see Him & know that the KING has arrived & He’s kicking death out the door!
Instead, we see this young carpenter w/ his tired, hungry pregnant wife having to travel 70 miles due to a governmental decree (interesting that governmental decrees are a part of our Christmas this year). And as a result of a paranoid, jealous king being in power, another decree was issued that all baby boys in the region of Bethlehem be killed, hoping that he would kill this new King that had been born.
So, as glorious as the Christmas story truly is, there’s this side to it – doom & death. And we can all succumb to this ungodly mindset.
But JESUS – don’t you love those 2 words! He defeated death. John 1:4 – “In HIM was life, & that life is the Light of men.”
WHENB WE ARE WALKING IN DEFEAT - VICTORY COMES
Bible full of stories of God’s people facing impending defeat, but God brings them victory.
- Moses at the Red Sea
- David facing Goliath
- Paul & Silas in a jail cell
We can walk in defeat if we want to.
- “Well, I just don’t know if God really is able to get me out of this mess.”
- “Not sure He really loves me.”
- “Not sure He is on my side. After all, nothing seems to be going my way.”
- You can keep walking in that defeated mindset & live a miserable life.
Or you can choose to “set your mind on things above, not on things on earth” (Colossians 3:2). You can choose to remember who it is that came into the world on that night in Bethlehem.
“He shall be called:”
- “Wonderful Counselor” – You can’t get your brain around how full of wonder He is. He will always – ALWAYS – guide you in the right direction if you’ll listen to Him & follow Him.
- “Mighty God” – Jesus is God – PERIOD! He’s not “A” god, but THE God. One of most straghtforward declaration of His deity in Scripture.
- “Everlasting Father” – He is the Messiah who is to rule the earth and usher in a reign of blessing and peace that will have no end – the Source & Author of all eternity.
- “Prince of Peace” – He came to give us eternal peace w/ God through salvation. And we also have the “peace that passes all understanding” in our hearts that comes from the Holy Spirit in us.
The choice is clear! You can walk & live a defeated life, or you can commit your life to the One who is all of these things & so much more!
God of perfect timing, Word of wisdom rare,
Eternal God, incredible to see you sleeping there.
How can it be, dear Lord of life, You came to tell us all,
Our only hope of Heaven lay within that cattle stall.
Many ways to Jesus, seekers take to find,
Many people looking for a Savior for mankind.
Many different wonderings, for many want to know,
Just who was born at Bethlehem a long time ago.
Was He just a good man, a teacher kind and true?
Or was it God who came to Earth to save a chosen few?
Was it all a story, improbable and wild,
Or God that day, in bed of hay, a tiny human child?
What do I know of Jesus and His changing, saving grace?
What difference is there in my life, has Christmas taken place?
How dare I live a selfish life when God gave His for me,
The choice is mine, and now’s the time to let Him set me free!
So Christmas now this season could be a different thing,
This year I could accept Him, and hear the angels sing.
So as I bow, right here, right now, and call upon His name,
My world, because of Christmas, will never be the same.
("God of Perfect Timing", Telling the Truth, Jill Briscoe © 2011)