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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
Video/audio/epub on OT library
Like glorious light shining in the darkness, God’s promises found in Isaiah 9:1-7 bring the spark of hope even to darkest and most devastated situations and lives. They center around the birth, life and eternal reign of Christ Jesus.
The themes of darkness and light are again contrasted embellishing the powerful allusions to the coming changes Jesus Christ will have in His kingdom on earth. Throughout Isaiah 9:1-7 we see promises of changes that bring inspiration and joy to our lives. Here we also are challenged by the powerful names of the Messiah revealed to us.
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There are two parts to Isaiah 9:1-7:
A) The Hope of Coming Light (Isaiah 9:1-5)
￼“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. 3 Thou shalt multiply the nation, Thou shalt increase their gladness; They will be glad in Thy presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For 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. 5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire” (Isaiah 9:1-5).
Darkness has a shrill of coldness about it. Depression is a darkness of the soul. The glimmer of hope has dissipated. This black theme forms the backdrop of Isaiah 9:1-7. One can see this through key words used in the first two verses: gloom, anguish, darkness, dark land, etc..
They would, however, take a promise into the dark cave. People without the promise are like having Christmas without Christ; a candle but no light; a heart but no love; a body but no clothes; a face with only a frown.
They had nothing because there was nothing to live for except a lone message of hope from some prophet. This is the only thing the survivors could take with them to the distant exiled land. As captives they had no possessions but only a glimpse of hope. Though our circumstances are very different, this message of hope remains to be the only sources light for our lives.
Darkness by definition is the absence of light. No warmth or security. No direction or pattern. Isaiah was probably commenting on how the northern kingdom had recently been captured (721 BC) and the threats of extermination were now reaching the southern kingdom of Judah where King Ahaz was then ruling. “In the days of Pekah king of Israel, ....Assyria came and captured ... Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria” (2 Kings 15:29). Judah was next and being threatened. (More on Isaiah chapters 7-12 context).
Darkness abounds in our land too. We display our lack of constraint not only by greedily spending money that we do not have but through many sad reports on how the culture has reached new lows. At the Ivy colleges like Harvard and Andover, they have been forced to rethink their policies. Back in the 1960s they abandoned their house rules:
“The moves are the latest effort to regulate campus behavior since rules controlling students -- known as in loco parentis -- were abolished in the 1960s. Disobedience crested last year for Ivy League schools....With campus excesses becoming more unruly and, in some cases, deadly, schools are no longer standing by.”
Are not these schools that decry the rules? What is wrong? Are they finally seeing what harm the drug, alcohol, hazing and casual sex scenes are bringing? Probably not. They are probably concerned with litigation or lost of donations. On the other hand, they just approved some sex clubs. This evil is not contained by the educated but has spread into the culture and even church.
Sure, we will say in our pride that we will not do that ridiculous and harmful thing, but we will do others. One ad went around having a child with a cigarette asking for a light among young smoking adults. The older ones repeatedly told the children that they should not smoke, then listing certain harmful reasons. The children then handed them a tract stating how smoking hurts adults too.
People have a hard time seeing what is wrong with their choices but easily condemn them in others. Such is our generation that claims darkness is light but also that light is darkness. Though man boasts of evolving, he indeed is retreating into beast-likeness by his ruinous choices.
Violence, drugs for escape, emotional troubles are all occurring because people are refusing to live by God’s ways. We live in moral darkness and certain forces are brazenly spreading this pernicious filth over all of us, no matter what country we live.
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