By: Christopher J. Curry, Missionary to Thailand
Begin with 2 minutes of silence
Isaiah 9:1-7 (NLT)
1Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
6For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Isaiah penned this prophesy about the coming of Jesus about 700 years before His arrival in a manger! This brief passage is dripping with hope that comes not via any efforts of man, but purely from Above. What does this hope look like?
Verse 1: Glory will fill wherever Christ dwells vs. anguish; despair.
Verse 2: People will see this great light of Christ vs. darkness.
Verse 3: An increase of joy and fruitfulness in Christ’s presence vs. despair and fruitlessness.
Verse 4: Christ fights for freedom vs. burden and oppression.
Verse 5: Christ announces a new era of peace vs. a time of fighting and war.
Verse 6: Christ will bear the burdens, provide counsel, strength and eternality vs. mankind’s attempts to bear the weight and leaning on his own understanding.
Verse 7: Christ’s Kingdom will provide an increase of peace, justice and righteousness vs. the kingdom of this world providing division, injustice and wickedness.
God’s hope, found in Christ and His Kingdom (or government) is one filled with glory, light, joy, fruitfulness, freedom, peace, lifting of burdens, providing counsel, strength, eternality, justice and righteousness. All of those wonderful things = HOPE. That’s A LOT of hope in seven short verses of Scripture! This is God’s prophetic promise not only to those awaiting a Messiah to arrive, but for us today. Where HE is we can anticipate and expect HOPE to unfold!
I’m reminded of my shortcoming in not inviting Christ continually throughout each day. I want to ask Him not only into ‘my’ life, but into ‘my’ day, into each of ‘my’ activities, into ‘my’ work, into ‘my’ family…into ‘my’ everything.
Question to Consider
Looking back on today or yesterday, do you notice a lack of His continual presence throughout the day?
Father, thank you for the hope you’ve graciously provided for me! Help me to continue surrendering the ‘my’s’ in my life in order to create the ‘our’s’ in our life together, Lord. Our life, our day, our activities, our work, our family, our _________________. I invite you. I surrender to You, asking Your Kingdom to come and will be done so that your heavenly Kingdom reign (with great hope) in me.
End with 2 minutes of silence