Isaiah 9:1-4 - But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; You have increased its joy; they rejoice before You as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, You have broken as on the day of Midian.
These verses precede the famous ones we all know about a Child being born, a Son given, the Gift of God to each of us on Christmas morn. We forget sometimes how God promised His Chosen One to the people of Israel when they were most definitely undeserving of any consideration from God at all—let alone the pledge of His own dear Son.
Sadly, the children of Israel were fond of chasing after foreign gods, giving their allegiance to evil cultic practices and wrongdoing on a grand scale. This practice led to untold numbers of crimes committed against the God who not only delivered them from the slavery of their Egyptian overlords but led them into the Promised Land. Yet, even in the middle of Israel's persistent spurning of God, the Almighty did not abandon His people. He did not give them over to their sins and the hopelessness that results from apostasy.
Instead, He gave them the promise of a future, an inheritance that lasts forevermore. "Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this" (Isaiah 9:7).
We too are an undeserving lot—blessed to overabundance by a God who gives good things and does so time and time again. Even as we have rebelled, seeking our own best interests, God has acted on our behalf. As it was said of ancient Israel, so it could be said of us: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
And who is this "Him" who has taken our sins and iniquity? It's none other than Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the One who was "despised and rejected" for our sakes. It is Jesus who "has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," who was "smitten by God," "pierced," "crushed," and chastised for our sins, and it is Jesus—and Him alone—by whose "wounds we are healed" (see Isaiah 53:4-5).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You have brought light to the nations through the gift of Your Son. Thank You and praise Your for this! In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. How does a promise of God coming true in the future impact your life now?
2. Do you think those who first heard the words above from Isaiah were filled with hope because of them?
3. Have you seen God deliver you from some dark days or misdeeds? Care to share?
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