Text: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
As we pause on this text once again, it’s good to know some of the background. Israel as a nation was divided into two separate kingdoms - the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Judah feared an attack from the north (Israel & Syria). God says to King Ahaz of Judah – do not fear! He (God) would protect them. However, King Ahaz (King of Judah) does not take God at His word and comes up with a plan of His own. He calls on Assyria for help. The plan backfires and Assyria with its mighty forces become a threat to the very kingdom that hired it (Judah).
Chapter 8 of Isaiah leaves us with a very dark picture. A picture of hopelessness. As the people look around them they see “distress and darkness and fearful gloom” (8:22).
Yes things look gloomy and dark. These were certainly anxious times.
Then we come to the first verse of Ch 9. It starts with the word: “However”/ “But”.
Whenever the word BUT or “however”is used in a discussion, what does that mean? I looked up the word “but” – “contrary to expectation”. In other words when BUT is used, it indicates that what is about to be said is “contrary” to what is expected from what has been said before.
Applying this to our text:
- Yes there will be military attack and with that will come darkness, gloom and anguish BUT, contrary to expectation – this will not last forever!
- Yes, the situation will appear to be a night time of hopelessness and helplessness, but contrary to expectation, the light of hope will break forth on the horizon.
The good news for God’s people was that “ there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress”.
Maybe someone needs to hear that today. That storm you are facing; that trial you are going through may be dark, and dismal, BUT, “contrary to expectation” it’s not going to last forever – God will bring the victory!
Friend, this Advent, hold onto hope! Hold onto the Christ child!
Pause and reflect:
· What is happening in in your life right now that’s causing a sense of hopelessness?
· Are you struggling to sing songs of joy and hope?
· Will you commit those to the lord right now?
Restorer of hope, I look to you
Through the misty tears and pain
I call on you above the storm
I reach out to you once again.