By Gladys McElmore
Isaiah prophesied more than 700 years before the birth of the Messiah. He predicted the Messiah’s birth and death. Here we read that God would send a Savior to deliver His people from sin and destruction and set up His Kingdom on Earth! Isaiah saw Israel as a rebellious nation during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah who were four mighty Kings. The multitudes of sacrifices had become meaningless to God because of the overshadowing of rebellion from the Israelites. God felt forsaken by His people at that time.
In those days and presently people have sometimes looked to various sources of hope instead of trusting in God completely. No light can be seen if we do not believe according to His word. Somehow God had destroyed gloom for those in distress by sending the Messiah. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Verse 7 continues with more words of encouragement by letting us know that there will be an increase of His endless Kingdom! The Lord God Almighty will accomplish all that has been promised.
What should be our response to God’s commitment? God acts and we respond hopefully by faith to His love and goodness to us. As God invites, we should follow Him. What does Isaiah 9 say to us about God? How does Jesus, the Messiah, challenge us to feel more hopeful? We can pray unceasingly for strength to serve God as we minister to others and continue to work for justice in our world. Solicit much strength from God as servants to use the power of His Holy Spirit to overcome physical and mental weariness in our lives.
God’s Messiah came at His appointed time to introduce the righteous government that the known world had desired. Isaiah addressed the Lord who brought the great light to the people (Verse 3). Before the prophecy of Jesus Christ, Isaiah saw only gloom for Israel because of their sins. At that time, many of the Israelites consulted mediums instead of turning to God for help. Even during such a dark time, God sent a hopeful message through Isaiah. Gloom would be removed by a “great light” that God would send! This light was none other than Jesus, the Messiah. There was undoubtedly much joy expressed for God had “broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of His shoulder” (Isaiah 9:4). Figuratively and literally speaking, the Israelites had suffered at the hands of the Egyptians as oppressors. Why had oppression come to Israel? This occurred mostly because God’s people had yielded to the yoke of sinful bondage. They had refused to accept the warnings of the prophets.
Isaiah looked beyond the time of captivity to the day when the Lord would have “broken the yoke of His burden.” Isaiah looked far beyond this oppression to Israel’s final deliverance by the Messiah. Isaiah 9:5 tells us that the Lord’s final victory over His enemies will create a permanent era of peace. The prophetic visions of joy, blessings and peace were remarkable, but they had come through Jesus Christ, our perfect king as described by Isaiah. Who could have imagined a king? All of Isaiah’s prophecies about the coming Ruler were beyond human understanding and without doubt had brought great astonishment among Israelites!
God’s messages through Isaiah could have been classified as wonders in every respect. His sovereignty (Isaiah 9:7), according to prophecy, climaxed with the idea of the Messiah’s peaceful rule increasing and never ending. In light of this period of time, how were these things possible? The Lord God Almighty made everything happen! God will continue to overcome all obstacles and prove Himself faithful to us. What did the Israelites know? What were some of the specialties about the birth of Jesus Christ? How does His birth affect us now?
Then and now Jesus can identify with the needs of humanity in which He would become a part. In our time, how will the prophecy of Isaiah be accomplished? In our lives, let us continue to ask God to “order our steps” to do His will. The light that Jesus brought into the world was eternal life which was a new quality of life that lifted us out of the darkness of sin. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the gracious gift we will always need!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolkís Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.