2: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined." - Isaiah begins his poem focused on the darkness that all people face at different times in their lives. When hopelessness prevails and when pain, suffering, and despair have their way, a great light will shine and reveal the glory of God.
4: "For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian." - Victory over the oppression we face in our lives is assured.
6: "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - From the weakest of all, a baby child, comes the authority and power that encompasses all aspects of God the Father and Creator.
7: "His authority shall grow continually, for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." - The king's reign, the kingdom of Heaven, is founded in justice and righteousness. As we turn our focus towards His and become aligned with His will, we unveil His glory for all time.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you walking in darkness?
Does it feel that wherever you turn, the challenges of life are holding you down? As you move through your days, are you constantly striving to keep the darkness of depression or pain at bay? Have you found the Light? Do you feel its warm glow? Are you drawn towards it? Do you see that God has created you to be a child of the Light? Do you realize that because of this whenever you feel lost in the darkness He will be there to guide you back into the light?
What kind of authority do you think a child could yield? Does the incongruity of power and vulnerability in these verses cause you to wonder? Do you wonder how a child could yield such hope? Do you wonder if, in some way, these verses are calling you to become a child? Are they asking you to give away the traditional sense of power and authority you yield in order to gain access to the true Authority - the giver of light and truth? Have you allowed the Child to enter your heart in order that you too, can become childlike before God?
Do you think that the kingdom of heaven is continuing to grow? Do you see evidence of God's justice and righteousness in your life? If His authority reigns, why do you worry so much about the state of affairs of our world or about the demise of moral and ethical behavior in society? If God is in control and if He has established His authority through Christ Jesus for all time, should you not be celebrating? If you find your self bickering and fighting, worrying and crying, or whining and complaining, is it time for you to have more faith in God and what God is doing in your life? Are you in some way limiting His kingdom in your life? Will you be able to open your heart to His zeal and sing songs of praise and thanksgiving with the knowledge that His kingdom is available today for all who seek His love? Promises of the Gospel:
The poetry of Isaiah spins forth phrases that have become very familiar, especially at Christmas. "For a child has been born for us…" "He is named Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." It would not seem like Christmas without these well-known phrases being read in our Christmas Eve worship services. But does the coldness of familiarity diminish the message of truth that rings through these words? Have we forgotten that, through a baby, God's Authority has come to earth and will remain here for all time? Has our faith in God weakened to such an extent that we limit the glory of His kingdom in our lives by sweating the details and by forcing our ideas and dreams onto others? Who is in control; God or us? When we look around at the world, do we see darkness or light? When fear strikes our heart, have we given up and forgotten the wonderful promise that "He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore." What part of the "forevermore" do we not understand? Isaiah tells us that our hope lies in a child. Jesus Christ, the child, is living in our hearts and is freeing us to become childlike so that we can experience the kingdom of heaven in our lives.
Amen! This is a lesson filled with promise that we can rest in. Thank you for sharing it! It rings of peace, provoking that childlike faith and trust in the Lord. I must confess that I needed it this morning.