There Is Hope The Child is Coming
The context is eighth century before Christ. The southern kingdom of Judah is fairly prosperous, but also sinful, as the prophet Isaiah addresses the problem. The mighty kingdom of Assyria was expanding on all fronts and was ready to crush all the little kingdoms. In this mix, the king of Judah was wheeling and dealing, seeing conspiracies, and trying to sort out its affairs.
Sin Is Evident
Judah herself, though materially prosperous, was wallowing in various sins.
Isaiah 2:6 Therefore you have forsaken your people the house of Jacob, because they are replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
Instead of being faithful with the God who would actually save them, they’re seeking all the Eastern religions in various form of spiritism and the occult, for help.
Isaiah 5:11: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that count darkness as light, and light as dark-ness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
They were delighting in all that was deceitful in society.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness.
God Gives Instructions Then & Now
Isaiah 8:11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk like this people.
Don’t fear what is fickle and feeble.
God spoke through Isaiah saying, “Judgment is Coming through the King of Assyria, but don’t be afraid, trust Me.”
Isaiah 8:7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels and go over all his banks.
If we live in fear of the external pressures all around us, it will lead us to live as if God is not in charge.
When things go wrong, it is easy to become panicky and to develop a kind of paranoia and then act upon our paranoia. We should be cautious and deeply suspicious of any panic-driven, reactionary approach to finding solutions.
If we are committed to God, we can learn from one another, but we are not to live life in fear of what others fear.
Those driven by fear cannot see God’s hand in events.
Isaiah is not to act like the Judeans who fail to make God the most central fact of their existence. Sooner or later, people discover that God is either their sanctuary or the stone that trips them up.
God does not change. He is Who He is. You can marginalize Him, and you don’t remove Him.
He’s still there, so you will trip over Him. Sooner or later, you will have to confront Him.
Don’t trust what is futile and false.
Isaiah 8:19 Now if they tell you, “Consult the ghosts and spirits…”
When people forsake the genuine revelation of God, man becomes superstitious, even occult-oriented.
People want to control the future, to domesticate & handle it.
Assyria, the superpower to the North, is going to come in, and the first place he tackles is Galilee.
The Promised Child Gives Hope
Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
Seven centuries go by, between this prophecy and the arrival of Jesus. The people are told to trust God, they’re not being told, “Trust God and your life will be fine.” Hard times came to them.
God wants people to be in solidarity with His own purposes across the centuries, until the coming of Christ. His people are to believe that God is in control and will bring all of His own promises to pass, one after another.
Christ came as predicted, seven-and-a-half centuries later, but ultimately our hope is in Christ’s coming again. We, like those in Isaiah’s day, are expected to trust God, and take Him at His Word—Not to fear what our culture fears. We’re to remember God is in control and Jesus is coming back.
This does not invite passivity, but genuine God-centeredness, genuine trust in God. When we are walking closely with God, there is a genuine fearlessness before the changing historical tides. There is real hope for those who believe.