Isaiah 9 is a common advent text; it was a bit odd to see it as the assigned text for this Sunday. Nevertheless, in reading it through non-advent glasses I noticed it seems rather applicable to the current state of affairs around us. There’s enough doom and gloom to go around these days–from economics to politics to debt to public shootings. On and on it goes. If you’re caught in any of these sweeping movements, my heart goes out to you.
Now, we don’t yet have Assyrians to contend with as Isaiah did, but still, the end of chapter 8 catches a bit of the times: Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
Into this comes the great and memorable words of chapter 9. I believe it offers us a genuine choice in all times, but especially in times such as these:
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—
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Isaiah says that even when the Lord’s face seems hidden, we need not counsel with the darkness of this world. Instead, a great light has come unto us and is over all this mess:
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.
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.
That’s a good word, y’all…