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IMMANUEL, A CHILD IS BORN
Key Verse 9:6
“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. “
Today’s story is a story of hope for all people of all generations. It is a story with hope for those who are living in darkness and are in need of a way out, a light at the end of the tunnel. This was the Christmas story as foretold through the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” He would come into this world as a child. He would grow up to be the Savior of the world. He would save us from our despair and the oppression of sin which lies buried within each soul. Who can but rejoice at how a child came humbly as a baby in a manger to give us life, to give us hope, to give us joy. God was quietly working in the background of history to provide at just the right moment his way of salvation. He used graceful Mary to be his mother. Joseph, a responsible man, would be the protective father. They would be the means God chose, as a family, to introduce his love into this world. A family brought together by Gods grace to reveal Gods grace to all. Through this passage in Isaiah, we have seen a great light which illuminates a great hope to once dead hearts and awakens the conscience to embrace something far greater than the things of this world. A light so bright so as to reveal Gods peace offered to a sinful people which overwhelms and rescues them from the darkness of sin. We need to tell the world of this story and shed its light so that this grace may not be overshadowed by the devils attempt to disguise it in material things.
Read verse 1. “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who are in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.” In the past, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, which included Gilead and Galilee, were taken over by the king of Assyria. Because of this the people were living in times of gloom and distress. We might say that at the time God revealed this prophesy to the prophet Isaiah, the times were very much like our own. We might not think of our times as gloomy or distressful but when we look at them from a spiritual point of view, they certainly are. History shows a progression of mechanical and electronic inventions along with social and economic breakthroughs designed to make life easier. The world seems to have changed for the better and offers more securities and greater benefits. But the reality is the world has always been a dark place offering the gifts of despair, anxiety, distress and gloom for all. Some things make men happy but they are mostly only for a short time. But in the hearts of men it has never been darker. Sin is prevalent everywhere and is made to look normal. Good is evil and evil is good.
As in Isaiah’s time, sin is rampant and the younger generation has no idea how far they are from God’s righteousness. But it was during such disparaging times that God gave Isaiah this grand prophesy. In the midst of sinful darkness, God showed his love and restoration plan to save his people. They would be freed from their spiritual turmoil. God gave them a promise of assurance to do so.
Read verse 2. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” The promise of God, spoken of in this prophesy, is for the liberation of those living in the oppression of sin. God would send the light to drive away the darkness from our lives. That light, our direction and our hope, is our Savior Jesus who came to drive away the darkness from our lives and bring in the light of our salvation. There is no promise dearer to us then this for those who have been defeated by the darkness of sin. Sin is an overwhelming power which cannot be fought, nor can it be defeated. No man has the means or the power to enable him to overcome the tide of sin which plunges him into darkness. History beholds the many who have tried to defeat sin, even the prophets of old but all have failed. Only when they embraced the faith that depends on God alone, were they given the promised victory over sin. The promise God gave was to send his light. He is the power which defeats the power of sin so we can overcome and be free of its grip. Only Jesus death on the cross and the power of his miraculous resurrection were strong enough to neutralize and diminish the power of death, making it a life-less thing. Now we have hope. Now we are armed with faith to beat down the darkness and drive it away. This is the great promise given to Gods children who have been equipped with faith to win the spiritual battle over darkness.
This darkness left everyone it touched in great peril. All people have some kind of darkness they battle against, something that takes the joy and vision out of there lives. Who can fight such a battle; it overwhelms our soul and drags us to the depths of defeat and despair. In the past it was not possible to escape. It was unfathomable. But our Lord gives us faith and assurance that we can win by his power. Only the power of faith given to us by Jesus lends us the assurance of victory. In a world of complaints, where selfishness runs rampant and is the reason for much injustice, we are challenged every day not to despair. But we must not despair. We must hold on to Gods promise and know that we will be given power to fight and win. God has granted us who believe this wonderful gift. It is his desire that we would depend on him and taste the victory he wants all of his children to live in. We want his desire to be our victory over sin. We want to embrace faith that drives out unbelief, doubts, despair, and whatever else might plague our souls, turning our hearts to Jesus whose love for us continues to shine.
God not only assures his people in Isaiah’s time that the light would be victorious, he went on to explain how God would cause it to happen. God helped them to look ahead to the future when he would bring the promise to pass. When tempted to doubt, it was these words of promise that gave them assurance again and again. Although we are privileged to have the New Testament with all of these promises fulfilled, we too need to mature in our faith. As young growing children of God, it is necessary to meditate and study the word of god at every opportunity until faith in our Savior grows in our hearts. We need to see Jesus and have faith in his power according to the promise.
Read verse 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.” This prophetic verse is directly related to the coming of the future Messiah. The times were at there darkest. Even the slightest hopes were snuffed out as a smoldering wick. Despair was prevalent with no room to think about a better tomorrow. Even Gods servant, the prophets, endured under a dark and oppressive cloud of despair. If not for the spiritual training of God upon Isaiah’s life, he as well could not endure such sorrow. But Isaiah was deeply rooted and had his foundation in the word of God. In the word of God he found the very heart and mind of God. And so he found the hope of God for these people who had fallen numerous times. He found the grace of God working in history to build up rather than to tear down. He found that God is gracious even to those who repent of their sinfulness. He also concluded that God always keeps his promises. With this conviction Isaiah could persevere. He could maintain his faith as a servant of God. He had confident faith to teach and to rebuke. His faith brought others comfort and gave them hope for the future and peace in there times of distress. They could finally catch a glimpse of the love of God because Isaiah knew that God loved him. He knew that Gods love is personal. Knowing this touched his heart deeply and made him powerful in servant ship. He loved to do the work of God and he loved others due to his faith in Gods incredible promise. So, he could lead them to the God who loved him and in turn they too could know the love of God for them. Faith is made of trusting in the love of God and trusting in the promise of God. Those who choose to listen to there Bible teacher grew in there hearts to conquer darkness and walk in the light. They could repeat this joyful process again and again until they grew strong and confident to overcome their failures and the guilt of sin.
The message he gave them was a light shining in the darkness. It was a beacon of hope that shone constantly as they held on to the word of God. That word of God empowered them to walk out of the shadows of death. The storms of life were still before them. Their circumstances did not become different but they themselves became different. They held on to Gods word as a sharpened tool ready to pierce the shadows of darkness and subdue them, protecting there hearts. The word of God gave them inward strength to conquer fatalism and despair. Nothing has this kind of power but the word of God itself. It is always the word of God that lifts us up, bringing dead hearts to life. The Spirit of God gave Isaiah wisdom to know that although they had hopes about the coming light, there is a tendency for hopes to fade. Hopes need to be contained and maintained in the word of God. The Spirit of God therefore gave his word to Isaiah for them to have a solid hope, an absolute truth to hold on to. Read verse 6 again. “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.”
This truth took shape as it described very definite forms of the Messiah who would come to save from darkness and show the people to the light. A child was born. He was a son. He would come to us in our times of trouble. He is not just an ordinary child. He is described as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of peace. As our Wonderful Counselor he is the one we can go to and learn how we can please our Lord God. We have no wisdom of our own; we are weak and lack understanding. But we can go to our Wonderful Counselor and through his teaching gain understanding. He is our Mighty God! He overcame the world. He is our Messiah who not only died on the cross but revealed his great power as Mighty God through the power of his resurrection overcoming the power of death. Everlasting Father. He is our Everlasting Father. He is the one who was, who is and will be forever. Some fathers come and go as they please but our Lord Jesus is forever with us. He is not only a glorious Father but an Everlasting Father. What a privilege it is to know our God has always been there since the beginning of time and will be there for us now and forever.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are born as enemies of God. We are his enemies by virtue of sin. This makes us rebellious although children may appear innocent. Because of sin we are outside of Jesus and in enmity with God. This means that without Jesus, all people will grow up to be the enemies of truth and defenders of the sinful pleasures they love so much. Sin destroys any hope of peace and leaves us empty. But Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He brings peace to a world that has no peace. He brings peace to hearts riddled with anxiety over the day to day tasks deemed necessary for survival. He brings our hearts peace for events that are beyond our control and can produce a devastating blow to our very soul. But our Prince of Peace cancels all anxiety, promising peace for every aspect of our lives. He assures us that he is ruling on his throne, that all things big and small are under his control. And we can rest in the palm of his hand. He is our Prince of Peace who defeated the power of sin and brings rest to all who would trust in him.
Most of our troubles of life come from bad counsel we have received at one time from the world. The world or our friends, our family, whoever, no matter how good intentioned they may be, if there counsel is not rooted in the truth, it is bound to do more damage to our souls then we began with. We all need guides to guide us through this journey of life. But good guides are rare since guiding in the way of truth is requires love and most people do not love the person they are counseling. The world counsels with good intention and although they may be sincere they may be sincerely wrong, being guided by the sinful nature. The sinful nature has for generations been the only counsel people have. And when counseled by the sinful or fleshly nature proper as it may be, it is a council of death. Hence, people live and die in deadly council. Christians tend to listen to the same counsel that the world has to offer. We hear counsel such as, “Save yourself”, “Do what makes you happy.” even though we may not what really makes us happy and a myriad of other such understanding . Good counsel is rare. It comes out of love. It comes from godly counsel. God did not and would not allow us to remain on spiritual death row. Rather, he gave us a counselor in the person of our Lord Jesus. He counseled his disciples in love. He led them to the truth and shed his grace upon them. Only Jesus, our Father and Shepherd, is qualified to lead us. In his love he counsels us to repent of our sin and leave our sin burden at the cross where he died for us. He counsels us love each other and to serve each other. He guides us from spiritual infancy until we are able to stand upon our own two feet spiritually and until we are able to help others do the same. He guides us to live by faith in his word and to put it into practice. From him we learn to lift up holy hands to heaven and receive our Fathers’ joy to the full. His council brings light and joy to those who seek him. He is the Wonderful Counselor who is full of wonderful counsel for us when we trust him.
Jesus is my wonderful counselor who took me out of the world and brought me to depend on him in all things of life. Once I thought, “Is that all there is?” I was living in the darkness of despair with no direction to my life. My soul was crushed and without hope. But in my hopelessness, Jesus made himself known to me. He gave me wisdom to pray and to cry out to him. He counseled me to struggle in the word of God and battle with and overcome my old sinful way of thinking. He poured his love into my heart. He taught me to come to him every day in the morning as did Adam in the early days of the garden. He counseled me to see that the things of this world don’t last and that my real hope is in the kingdom of God. He does not want anyone to remain in there blindness but he wants to bless all who would listen to his counsel and lead them with his light. Who but Jesus knows how to counsel each one of us? Who can help us to grow out of our failure and despair and be free from our inner turmoil? Who can council us to grow spiritually into men and women of faith who can lead others to our Wonderful Counselor Jesus? May God bless each one of us to listen to our Lord Jesus and accept his counsel as our Wonderful Counselor in this New Year. May God inspire us to bring the Prince of Peace to College students and young people who need to come out of the darkness of this world and into his wonderful light.
Read verse 6. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty god, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”