Devotional Reading: John 8:12-30
Lesson Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-7
Lesson Aims: To examine ourselves to God’s Standards; to praise Him as the Promise-Keeper; and to maintain hope during difficult times.
The book of Isaiah has been called by many “The Promise of Salvation”. The New Testament quotes it some “50 times and alludes to it more than 250 times” (Richards’ Complete Bible Handbook). Current scholars agree that the 66 chapters in the book had several authors. “The first 39 chapters were attributed to the Eighth Century BCE (BC) Judean prophet whose name the book bears. Chapters 40-55 were referred to as Second Isaiah or Deutero-Isaiah. This unknown prophet lived in Babylon during the exile. Third Isaiah or Trito-Isaiah, chapters 56-66 was penned by a single prophet or several prophets who lived in Judah after the exile” (The Harper Collins Study Bible). Our concentration hinged on First Isaiah.
The son of Amoz, Isaiah, prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in the southern kingdom (Judah) some 650 years before Christ. Isaiah was well educated, married and had two sons. His contemporaries were Amos, Hosea and Micah. Isaiah’s prophesies came during a critical period (739-681 BCE (BC) in Judah’s history. Assyria was expanding rapidly and Judah was being pressured to side with Israel, the northern kingdom or Assyria. That alone supplied enough intrigue but to complicate matters, her rulers had turned from God which led to moral failure.
A few of them oppressed and mistreated the poor and helpless. God was so frustrated with them that He refused their worship calling, it an abomination. Throughout his prophecy, Isaiah was confrontational on one hand and comforting on the other.
Isaiah delivers a scorching indictment upon Judah in chapters 1-5. When the chapter opens, the prophet refers to Israel, who ignored God’s prophets and met their fate in 722 BCE (BC) when Assyria conquered and scattered them. Judah also walks in the darkness of sin and will face the same judgment. The prophet brings hope at this point. It will be in the same area of Zebulun and Naphtali (NAF tuh ligh) that the light from heaven (Messiah) will come and bring joy. This will be fulfilled in Matthew 4; 12-16.
This joy will be reminiscent of a good harvest or dividing up the spoils after a military victory. The Chosen have a long history with the Midianites (see Genesis 37:12-36, Exodus 2:11-22; and Judges 6-8).
The coming of the Light is supernatural, making soldiers and their weapons archaic. The Light is a male child from God’s covenant people. The “legitimate heir” to David’s throne (UMI Direction) will have government resting on His shoulders. Other names imply His wisdom, sovereignty, priesthood and the fact that He alone can bring peace. While He is a Jew, he comes for all of humanity because God ordained it!
With all of the crime, corruption and moral failure that confronts us daily, it becomes easy to see yourself as helpless, powerless and hopeless. Take heart my brothers and sisters. God remains in control!
He sits high and looks low. He is our hope, because with Him justice and mercy will be perfect! Humanity can and will let you down. Study God’s Word and look at your life to see Him as the Promise-Keeper! Put your trust in Him. He is faithful at all times. He is unchanging. We aren’t perfect, but He loves us anyway