A Beacon of Great Hope
Read Isaiah 9:1-7.
Promises are wonderful things. Do you get excited when you think of something a friend or loved one has promised you? This might be spending time together, or a treat or experience that you know you’ll enjoy. Whatever it may be, the possibilities a promise brings can make us smile just by thinking about it. They offer a glimpse of the future we can look forward to and hope for.
One way God proclaimed his promises of hope to his people was through prophecies. Significantly, the book of Isaiah contains multiple prophecies about Jesus. Isaiah 9 foretells Jesus’ birth as a way of providing the people of Israel with assurance of God’s saving purposes. It directly echoes God’s promises to David of a king from his line who would reign forever (cf. 2 Sam 7), one who would bring a lasting kingdom, peace, justice and righteousness (v7). The passage reveals some of the most beautiful titles used to describe Jesus in the Bible – Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (v6). These special names overflow with joyful anticipation and point to the one who would fulfil all of these offices perfectly.
For the people of Israel at the time of Isaiah, God’s words of promise were a beacon of great hope and salvation. Their situation appeared bleak and hopeless. They were exiled from the land of their ancestors and experienced oppression at the hands of their enemies. So, imagine how amazing the possibility of going from darkness and despair (v2), to rejoicing (v3), seeing the light (v2) and being freed from their oppressors (v4) would have been for them. It reminded them that God’s plan to redeem his precious people to himself was very much alive. In Jesus, all their greatest hopes and expectations would be fulfilled.
For us today, the promise of Jesus is even more special because we can see what Jesus has accomplished through his life, ministry, and death. Just as the Scriptures foretold, he came to earth as Immanuel (God with us) (cf. Matt 1:23), conquered sin and death, and established God’s everlasting kingdom. Even now he sits at God’s right hand and is still at work (cf. Heb 1:3) – reigning as king, interceding on our behalf – and he has promised to finish what he has started when he comes again (cf. Rev 1:6-7).
What an absolute joy and privilege we have to be able to see Jesus as the fulfilment of God’s word to us – the greatest promise and gift that we will ever know.
- Praise and give thanks to God for his promise of salvation and redemption.
- Ask God to help you to cling to his promises and remember his precious gift of Christ Jesus to us.