Click here for the reading: Isaiah 9:2-7.
King Ahaz sought all kinds of worldly helps in his war against Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel, including making an alliance with Assyria. Yet as seen in Isaiah 7, Ahaz never sought the help of the Lord. Thus, Isaiah declares to Ahaz that the Lord will raise up a true King, one who will rule His people in the way that Ahaz never did. How do we seek worldly help when facing life’s problems? Why do people often turn to those things? What does it mean to seek God’s help? How does Psalm 50 help us understand how to call on God?
The land of Zebulun and Naphtali was not a good one. Hiram called it Cabul in 1 Kings 9:13, meaning “like nothing.” In the time of Christ, the Jews held Galilee in contempt, as Nathanael remarks in John 1:46. Not only does it dwell in the darkness of war, it is also a backwater, the kind of place from which no prophet arose. Yet this people will see a great light. What things are we tempted to overlook? What can we learn from God repeatedly using them to carry out His mission? How ought we to deal with those who are “like nothing” in the world? How is Galilee like the word of the cross in 1 Corinthians 1?
Ahaz sought help from the world, turning to Assyria for military aid. He sought peace at any cost, even paying Assyria with gold and silver from the temple itself. Yet it accomplished nothing in the end. However, God promises that His people will rejoice when He brings a true peace. The oppressor shall be overthrown, as when Gideon routed Midian with 300 men, and all the spoils of war shall be burned. Why does the Bible point to past acts of God when dealing with present fears? Why are we so apt to forget the past when facing these fears? Why does God refer to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Exodus 3?
Isaiah prophesies that a Child will be born, one who will reign on the throne of David. He will be the King of Israel, the one that Ahaz tried to be. His reign will not be characterized by warfare and worldly alliances, but by peace and righteousness. This Child is the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and son of David. What do each of Jesus’ titles here teach us about His kingdom? Why is the promise of peace under the reign of Christ important for Israel and for us? How do we reconcile the promise of peace under Christ’s reign with the continued wars and problems we see in the world, even among Christians? Compare the words of Jesus in John 18:36. How should we understand the promises of an earthly kingdom in Isaiah in the light of what Jesus says there?