An Advent Devotional on Isaiah 9:1-7.
The kingdom of Judah was religious on the outside but rebellious on the inside. God’s people offered the prescribed sacrifices and prayed the appropriate prayers, but they were just going through the motions. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, the people walked in darkness (2) and judgment was ahead. The Babylonians would come, ransack Judah, destroy the holy city, and take its inhabitants into exile.
But anger and judgment are not the essence of God’s heart. For sure, He is holy and righteous, but He regularly holds back his just wrath. We are told that God is slow to anger but rich in mercy and abounding in love (Ps. 103:8; Eph. 2:4). Judah would reap what they sowed, but it would not mark their end. God promised deliverance. A “great light” would come, so radiant that it would pierce the deepest darkness. This light would inaugurate a kingdom of everlasting joy and complete freedom (3,4).
These blessings would not come through legislation or peace accords but through a person. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (8). This baby would have the rights and splendor of a Sovereign King (6,7).
Reading this prophecy through the lens of the New Testament we are assured: this refers to Jesus! But the Israelites did not have the advantage of hindsight. And so the prophet gives a description of what the Son would be like (6).
He is the Wonderful Counselor who possesses all wisdom. The Messiah has no advisors, never second guesses Himself, and always does what is right. He is the Mighty God. All of who God is would be wrapped up in this Person, the imprint of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He is Everlasting Father. He loves and cares perfectly. If He becomes your Father through faith He will never leave you an orphan and you will never attend His funeral. He is the Prince of Peace, bringing “shalom”, not just absence of conflict but total wellbeing.
God fulfilled His promise. The Messiah came. There are more than 300 specific prophecies in the Old Testament about Christ’s first coming and each one was fulfilled to the smallest detail. We can therefore rest assured that He will come again to finish the job. He promised. Hallelujah, what a Savior.