Rise and Shine!
Lord of all, make me new again today. Quiet my heart so that I can hear from you.
Read Isaiah 9:1–7
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectToday can be a happy, busy, frustrating, sad or lonely day for different people. Take a quiet moment in God’s love.
What a glorious picture Isaiah paints, after the depressing warnings that have come before it! The destruction that begins with the northern tribes’ deportation to Assyria (1) will be reversed from the same direction. Matthew quotes verses 1 and 2 to make this point in Matthew 4:15,16: Jesus began his ministry in Galilee in the north of the country.
Isaiah’s first hearers would not have known who the child (6) would be. Some have speculated that Isaiah was referring in glowing terms to crown prince Hezekiah, who would be a much more godly king than his father Ahaz. But no faithful Jew would call a mere human “Mighty God.”
Isaiah is speaking of the Messiah who will save not just the nation but the world. Oppression will end (4) and war will become a distant memory (5) when the Prince of Peace takes charge. This is something we want to share, but thankfully the plan does not rely on our enthusiasm alone: “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (7).
No matter how twisted our society’s celebrations may seem, when you see festive lights in streets or people’s homes, rejoice!
Lord, what a blessing that The Light of the World has come and will one day be recognized and understood by all.
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