Summary: Christmas is the fulfillment of a promise God made long ago to bless the world. A promise of Hope, Joy, Victory & Unfolding.

This is Christmas: A promise fulfilled

Isaiah 9:1-7

December 3, 2017

It’s a promise of hope v.2

It’s a promise of joy v.3

John 16:22 James 1:2-3 1 Peter 1:8-9 Romans 15:13

It’s a promise of victory vv.4-5

It’s a promise unfolding vv.6-9

Opening Illustration of someone in deep darkness (physically/emotionally)…buried in rubble, then a light led them out???

(Need laser pointer)

Turn to Isaiah 9:1-7 this morning as we begin our Christmas series. I love Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Joke about Christmas…

And yet, it’s a very difficult time for many, many people.

v.1 Map of Israel

Way of the Sea; Via Maris: most important trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia… or

…came up out of Egypt along the sea coast on the west side of Israel, but then cut across just west of the Sea of Galilee because there was an opening in the mountain range that would take them quicker over to Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia.

The region around Galilee had been under great distress: they had been raided by Ben Hadad of Syria, raped, pillaged and deported by the Assyrian king Esarhadden, the Phoenicians had stolen and enslaved some of them; foreign powers had colonized among them and undoubtedly many of them were sex slaves by the intruders and so some of the offspring were not truly blue blood Hebrews. So they were not only afflicted by those outside the country but they were despised by those in the south around Jerusalem.

It was to these Galileans that the Messiah first appeared with His gospel message; with His good news. “He left Nazareth behind and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.” Matthew 4:13

This had been promised in Deuteronomy 33:18 and in Psalms 68:27 and the Great Prophet Isaiah picked up on this and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this passage over 600 years before Jesus appeared on the scene. As Isaiah peers into the future, he sees a reversal of fortunes.

This promise was to a people who had suffered great indignity, great humiliation, great physical pain, the loss of loved ones to rape and murder and enslavement and deportation. It was fulfilled initially when Jesus came. And it still is a promise that can be fulfilled in our lives today.

It’s a promise of hope v.2

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.”

The people in that region of the world were oppressed; their future nothing but gloom and despair. But Isaiah was infusing them with hope: the Messiah will come one day and you’ll see God’s plan; you’ll understand your history in the Light of God; you’ll see that the Messiah will bring you hope in the midst of your difficulties.

I could point to people all over the room who are going though difficulties great and small: a daughter struggling with deep depression; a son struggling with acute fear and anxiety, a husband fighting life-threatening cancer, a widow or divorcee struggling with profound loneliness; others struggling w/loss of jobs or overwhelmed w/financial burdens.

This promise is for you. Your situation is not hopeless. It can be hope filled. Why? Because hope is not born in circumstances; it supersedes circumstance. It comes from the Light, the light of Jesus. A few weeks I did the funeral for one of our families who had lost their 18 yr old daughter in an automobile accident. Despite the circumstance, they had hope. Why? Because there is hope in the gospel. There is hope in Jesus. Paul wrote, “I do not want you to grieve as those without hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

We have this hope; we have this expectation that despite circumstances, God will work this out for His glory and our good. This is a promise of hope.

It’s a promise of joy v.3

“You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before You as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils.”

Notice the words joy—rejoice three times—harvest time—dividing spoils.

The Light was going to increase their joy like at harvest time and winning a battle.

I believe one of the most defining characteristics of a mature believer is the amount and the persistence of their joy.

Listen to a smattering of what the Bible says about joy: John 16:22 “Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.” James 1:2-3 (on screen); 1 Peter 1:8-9 (on screen); Romans 15:13 (on screen)

This Christmas, regardless of circumstance, you can have hope and joy. That’s a promise. He is our hope. He is our joy. And… Jesus is our victory

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