Summary: An Examination of the "names" prophesied by Isaiah, to help the audience consider what a blessing it is that Jesus came and to live life in light of that great help
Congratulations! It’s a boy! You have a baby boy! Mazzletov!
I know, I know, you have all kinds of reasons that you shouldn’t have Him. You’re not ready yet, or you’re too old. You can’t afford it. Everybody has their list of reasons that they shouldn’t have a baby.
Believe me, I know! It was 1965. My parents, who already had 5 children, announced to my 17 year old brother Dan the good news that he was going to have yet another little brother or sister. You’d think he’d be thrilled. Instead he said, “O great, just what this family needs – another mouth to feed!” There aren’t many baby pictures of that 6th and final Nichols baby.
Everyone has their reasons that you can’t add a baby boy to the house, right?
Isaiah writes to Israel in 9:6 – to us a child is born, to us a son is given. It’s not just for them. In fact, Jesus wouldn’t even hit the scene for another 700 years or so.
But the angel told the shepherds, Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
John later wrote that God gave His one and only Son. Gave Him. To us, a son is given! So, congratulations! You have a son!
Do we really need Him? Is that really the answer to life’s challenges? A baby?
Israel surely was asking questions like that. There was little doubt that they needed something.
It was during Isaiah’s days that the northern 10 tribes were overrun and taken apart by Assyria.
In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took…Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.
200 years before that, it was the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali that had been hit the hardest by King Ben Hadad. Even though the Jews did some resettling many years later, the area that became known as Upper Galilee was never really Jewish again – “Galilee of the Gentiles,” they called it. And just south, the area of Galilee, remained an area of contempt. Being called a Nazarene was an insult. Remember when Philip told Nathanael they had found the Messiah – Jesus from Nazareth? “Can anything good come from there?” he said. The Jewish council insulted Nicodemus: “Are you from Galilee too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
We have a copy of the movie called The Nativity. We’ll probably be watching that before long. Like any Bible story movie, it has its flaws, but one feature of it I like is the way it shows the little town of Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph lived. Too often I think we picture a well-organized, big city. It wasn’t. It wasn’t much at all.
So, Isaiah is speaking and writing to people who know hard times. And the first 39 chapters of his book are mostly about the hard times that are going to come upon the remaining 2 tribes of Judah and Simeon because of their unfaithfulness to God too. That’s conditions in Israel in Isaiah’s day. (Not a whole lot has changed).
And, God’s answer, God’s encouraging news is…a Son; a child. Not just any child, but one who was going to be born hundreds of years later. Let’s face it, when it comes to problem solving, having a child be born isn’t usually where we look for answers now either, is it? It’s not quick enough. It’s not proactive enough. Kids are work!
People living in the land of darkness; gloom; distress; being humbled; living in the land where death casts its shadow; oppressed; at war. Sound familiar?
Did anyone else watch, read, or hear the news this past week?
Let me review a little real quickly:
• Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi faces a rebellion from judges who accused him on Saturday of expanding his powers at their expense…There were calls for the "downfall of the regime"
• This past week, eastern rebels in the DRC in Africa captured the city of Goma. Their goal is to overthrow the government.
• Our government continues its investigations into the actions of a former war hero, and the affect it may have had on the follow up to an attack on our people in Bengazi, Libya.
• 18 people were hurt when a natural gas leak triggered an explosion that completely leveled a strip club in Springfield, Mass., and damaged 12 other buildings, officials said Friday.
• And, just when you thought it was safe to brave the crowds on Black Friday: 3 hurt, 2 arrested in gang brawl at CherryVale Mall
And, it’s Christmastime – time for the annual battles over religious expression and the ongoing struggle by the commercial world to camouflage Jesus during a holiday that’s actually all about Him.