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I got chills today when reading Isaiah chapter 9 about the hope in our Messiah, Jesus Christ! Keep in mind that the book of the prophet Isaiah was written in the 8th century B.C.... 800 years before Jesus walked this earth! Verses 1 & 2 start off this chapter in such a beautiful way: "Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light--a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow." Compare these verses to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4 verses 12 through 17 at this link when Jesus begins his public ministry. Amazing eh? Jesus Christ is the great light! The light of the world! And indeed, a light to the Gentiles!
Verses 6 & 7 continued the chills for me as I read them - and reminded me of an incredibly beautiful song that is sung at my parent's church every Christmas: "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!" Do you believe that these verses were prophesying the coming of Jesus Christ 800 years later? Do you believe that Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor? Mighty God? Prince of Peace? Do you believe that Jesus rules forever with fairness and justice? Praise God for this prophecy in Isaiah that a child would be born to us! Though we are a few months out from Christmas, now feels like a good time for all of us to reflect upon these words below from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verses 8-14 (from the King James Version):
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 9 titled "The Glorious Messiah and the Messianic Age" is at this link. Below is a great image for Isaiah chapter 9 verse 2 from today's readings:
Isaiah chapter 11 in today's readings is an incredible Messianic chapter of the Old Testament! Check out a webpage outlining the Messianic prophecies from Isaiah chapter 11 and then their fulfillment in the New Testament at this link . The life and character of Jesus is so clear in chapter 1 verses 1 through 5 today: "Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will never judge by appearance, false evidence, or hearsay. He will defend the poor and the exploited. He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of his mouth. He will be clothed with fairness and truth." Does this sound like anyone you personally know? I pray so.
Then, verses 6 through 9 are such a beautiful reflection on the peace and safety of the coming Messianic age when Jesus returns: "In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all. The cattle will graze among bears. Cubs and calves will lie down together. And lions will eat grass as the livestock do. Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes and pull it out unharmed. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. And as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD." Can you imagine all of this? Can you imagine all of this ever taking place, apart from Jesus coming into our world? Do you look forward to experiencing the day of the lion and the lamb living together in peace! (Or as I heard a pastor quip once, the dog and the cat eating out of the same bowl! :)
Worship God: Today's readings in Isaiah 11 reminded me of Brandon Heath's song "Your Love:"
Do you need God's Love? Click here for Love!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!