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The Glory of God's King
The Bible Teacher's Commentary
Paul J. Bucknell
Isaiah 9:1-7 Intro | 9:1-5 The Promises of God| 9:6 Wonderful Counselor | 9:6 Mighty God | Eternal Father | 9:6 Prince of Peace | 9:7 Security | Isaiah 9:1-7 Bible Study Questions
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These verses do not only indicate man’s ongoing dilemma but deliver wonderful promises. When discouraged, think of the night sky. Every where you look is dark, but then your eyes are trained for the little bit of light that you find. Here are six promises in Isaiah 9:1-7 which when fixed on bring about an increasing degree of glory and light.
The opposite of glory is perhaps depressed or shameful. Glory speaks of the awesome display of some person or situation. The situation near Galilee drastically improved when Jesus walked through (Mat 4:23-25).
“Jesus was going through all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and the brought to Him all who were ill.... Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan” (Mat 4:23-25).
Matthew states that this “was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet” (Matthew 4:4-16). It is very evident that though the light appeared in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali, people from all over came to that place to be healed by the Lord Jesus. (See Appendix “Galilee of the Gentiles” for more discussion).
Isaiah places great stress on the theme of lightness, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:2).
John speaks much about light shining. John very clearly affirms that this light was Jesus Christ, come in human form. “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:9). Light forms part of the glory earlier mentioned. Light’s emphasis is on bringing understanding, clarity and direction. As the world leaves God, they enter into places of greater darkness, lacking the direction and understanding needed and therefore suffering pain from their poor choices.
“Thou shalt increase their gladness; They will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest.”
Verse 3 announces the joy that comes to the people who know Jesus. “Increase their gladness,” “will be glad,” and “gladness of harvest” are three phrases highlighting the joy that comes from knowing the Lord. Paul says several times, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4).
Do you see the effect of the promises? Verse 2, however, states that there would one day be a people who walk in darkness, but something would happen to them that would in turn revolutionize the world. They would see a great light. This light would not be something that they just saw from afar. That same light would shine upon them and bring about great changes resulting in exceeding joy. This is what we remember in Luke’s gospel.
“And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
What God did 2000 years ago in a tiny Middle Eastern nation was absolutely astonishing. The angel said it was good news of great joy. We see the angel using a double expression, “good news of great joy” to describe the wonderful scene. Although we might draw back from the black background, God uses it to serve as a contrast in which His light is more easily seen and appreciated.
“Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.”
Wherever oppression rules, people seek help. The northern kingdom by this time has already been taken captive. King Ahaz is scrambling to protect the southern kingdom from being grabbed. Due to their wickedness, however, even the southern kingdom of Judah would be captured. The Lord is a freedom giver, not freedom in the sense they can live without restraint. The joy and life He promises come from following His proposed way of life.
During Jesus’ time, people were looking for freedom from the oppressive tactics of Herod. The Roman occupation left the people only with fears. When foreign governments occupy a country, resentment builds up. Taxes increase. In Jerusalem’s case, pagan soldiers were buttressed right next to God’s holy temple.
Isaiah 9:4-5 gives us a taste of its bleakness. Listen to the words: yoke, burden, rod, oppressor. God announces a great change but how will He do it? After all, it is no easy thing to conceive of overthrowing the massive Roman Empire from the back of the weakling occupied state of Israel. Israel didn’t even have its own king not to mention an army. The few revolts that came about were easily squashed.
Hopelessness does not believe it can escape its own bleak situation. Fortunately, God has a way. This is the reason the Midian battle was mentioned. Hundreds of years back Gideon the Judge freed the people from the Midianites (Judges 6:6). Joshua 7 records the amazing victory God did with a few people. But could God do it again? Would He? He sure did.
God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ would bring deliverance to us. This is what the name ‘Jesus’ means, “Deliverer” or “Savior” (Matthew 1:21). The rest of this message explains the glory of this new government. In the New Testament the phrase ‘the kingdom of God’ or the ‘kingdom of heaven’ is commonly used. We should humble ourselves as we sit back and see the glory of God’s kingdom eclipse the whole earth.
“Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
What are two ways people respond to ‘dark’ and decaying situations?
Our values slowly change along with the culture, increasingly reflecting the world more than God, until there is no difference.
We sense that we are drifting from God and we cry out for deliverance.
Most of the world is like a frog or lobster put in lukewarm water. They are content to remain there even when the heat is increased–resulting in the sure death. If we took that same frog and put it in hot water, however, the frog would jump to safety. We need to understand the urgency of turning from the world and turning to the Lord.
Explain the dark features that exist about your life.
Do you get hopeless? How do you respond to these situations?
Which way do you respond to them? Does your pastor and parents think likewise?