Years ago John Kennedy
noted, "Every man, woman and child lives under a
nuclear sword of Damocles hanging by the slenderest
of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by
accident, or miscalculation, or by madness."
At first, you think that
is cold war rhetoric, but you think again, and
realize those words are true at every turn. The
powers may have changed, but the threat is still
there. The end of the cold war didn't bring the
promised peace for which we hoped.
We still live in a day of
confusion and madness. We go searching for wisdom
and knowledge and are overwhelmed by the sheer
volume we find. Never has an age been more
complicated and confused. We don't know what to
believe or who to believe any longer. We play mind
games that begin with, "Well, define for me what you
mean by . . ." Since when did dictionaries go out of
style? Where do you turn for wise counsel this late
in the game? Is there a wise counselor who can
illumine our way?
There is a sense of
pervading gloom and helplessness the world over.
Many leaders of the world feel helpless at the
rapidly changing political and economic
circumstances. Political and economic rules have
changed. We feel helpless at bringing about changes
in a world gone mad. Is there no one who can give us
power and strength to do what we need to do?
There is no sense of
security in our world. No one leaves their homes
unlocked any more, even in small towns across the
nation. We have lost our sense of security. Very few
people believe in the justice system. One person
with power and money is treated one way, the common
man another way. One man lies and commits perjury in
a federal court and gets away with it, while
thousands of others go to prison. Violence, crime,
political intrigue, lack of integrity spell dome to
security of the individual. The whole system will
break down. Is there not someone who can give us
eternal security in a day of insecurity?
We live in a day of
restlessness. We have listened to twenty second
sound bites, and thirty second commercials so long
that we are restless if someone wants to speak to us
more than a couple of minutes. We run to another
job, a second home, another hobby, another spouse,
another toy, etc. We can't stop and enjoy the
moment. We get instant boredom because we are
restless at the core of our personality. Is there
someone who can give us peace? Is there someone to
whom we can turn in our crazy mixed up confused,
insecure, restless world and find peace?
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah
lived in a day of political and spiritual confusion
and madness. Gloom and doom filled the air. There
was a sense of helplessness as the Assyrians knocked
on the front door. Like ours, insecurity and
restlessness filled his day. Isaiah chapters seven
and eight opens with a faithless king. King Ahaz of
the Southern Kingdom of Judah refused to put his
trust in the Lord God to save Judah from the hands
of the Syro–Ephramidic coalition. Except for the
prophets of Yahweh, it was a time of spiritual
poverty in Judah.
THE SIN OF ISRAEL
The prophet Isaiah
described the spiritual conditions of his day in
8:19, 21–22. "When they say to you, 'Consult the
mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,'
should not a people consult their God? Should they
consult the dead on behalf of the living? . . . They
will pass through the land hard–pressed and
famished, and it will turn out that when they are
hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king
and their God as they face upward. Then they will
look to the earth, and behold, distress and
darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be
driven away into darkness."
It was a night without
end in Judah. Spiritual darkness penetrated the
land. It was a night without morning. These were
deeply troubling times filled with crisis and panic.
The events in this chapter took place probably after
Tiglath–pileser of Assyria invaded Syria and Ephraim
in 734–32 B. C. "Gloom" filled the land. The nation
was in a state of spiritual darkness and political
distress all over the land.
The whole northern region
had suffered from the "scorched earth" policy of the
invading Assyrians. Northern Galilee which cut
across Napthali and Zebulun, especially felt the
extreme devastation of the Assyrians.
This spiritual darkness
was the result of persistent unbelief. How strange
that those who think they are in the light when
indeed they dwell in perpetual darkness. Such was
the condition of Israel and Judah. Gloom encircled
the Promised Land.
During this crisis, the
Lord God sent his prophet Isaiah. King Ahaz was busy
inspecting the water supply in preparation for
another siege by the Assyrians. He walked up to the
king with his son Shear–jashub. Isaiah encouraged
Ahaz with these words, "Take care and be calm, have
no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these
two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of
the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of
Remaliah" (7:4). His messages were dramatic at a
time when the king was struck with panic. "Take
care, and be calm, have no fear and do not be
fainthearted because of these two pieces of burnt up
sticks in which there is a lot of smoke, but no
fire. These two sticks are so burnt out that there
is not enough left in them to flame up again."
Isaiah doesn't even acknowledge Pekah, but calls him
"the son of Remaliah," meaning the son of a nobody.
Tabeel's name signifies "Good for nothing."
That was probably enough
to make Ahaz laugh, but when Isaiah called out the
name of his son, Shear-jashub, that probably made
him jerk his head. Shear–jashub means, "a remnant
shall return." Moreover, if only a remnant, a small
group will return from exile, the vast majority will
not return. In stark contrast Isaiah's name means
"salvation of Yahweh."
God's answer to the
crisis was "it shall not come to pass." In less than
65 years, Ephraim will be shattered. It will no
longer be a nation. Isaiah tells Ahaz, and if you do
not believe this message, you will not last. Isaiah
and his son were two witnesses to Ahaz. Yahweh is
salvation and only a remnant will return if you
don't put your trust in Him. The nation of Judah's
whole destiny depends upon her readiness to believe
the LORD God. If she and her king believe, they have
a future. If not, their doom is sealed and only a
small remnant shall return to the land. They will
endure only as they continue in faith.
Ahaz already has his mind
made up. His stubborn unbelief will not allow him to
trust in the LORD. Therefore, the Lord says to him,
"As a sign for yourself from the Lord your God: make
it deep as Sheol or as high as heaven."
Ahaz persistent in his
unbelief refuses and demonstrates pious unbelief. "I
will not ask, nor will I test the Lord." Ahaz sounds
so spiritual. However, when God proposes a sign it
is not a test. Ahaz knows that if he did choose a
sign and the LORD did demonstrate Himself he would
be under necessity of believing him. He would be
held responsible. Ahaz didn't want that kind of
pressure. He did not want to be held accountable.
Even today, God has
revealed Himself with undeniable signs and
testimonies and still men do not believe because
they will not. How tragic when it is evident that
God is at work in a person's life and he persists in
rationalizing his unbelief. We can find ourselves
acting just like Ahaz. We make our unbelief sound so
Isaiah's blood begins to
boil. God was at work and Ahaz refused to believe
God gave him a sign
Isaiah responds, "You
weary my God." Isaiah doesn't say, "your God." He
says, "my God." "Listen, O house of David! It is too
slight a thing for you to try the patience of men,
that you will try the patience of my God as well?"
Ok, Ahaz if you will not ask for a sign, I will go
ahead and give you one anyway. "Therefore the Lord
Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will
be with child and bear a son, and she will call His
name Immanuel" (7:14).
consisted chiefly in that he never saw any light as
to the meaning of the sign Yahweh threatened to
give. How dark is spiritual darkness!
An unknown maiden will
have a child, but its message reached out to the
future to a virgin who would conceive and bear a
son. That son by His very character and nature would
be Immanuel, "God with us."
The physician Luke, after
conducting his interviews and doing his research,
quoted Mary when he wrote: "The angel said to her,
‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor
with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb
and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He
will be great and will be called the Son of the Most
High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of
His father David; and He will reign over the house
of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’
Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am
a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The
Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the
Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason
the holy Child shall be called the Son of God’"
(Luke 1:30–35). Only in Jesus Christ could that
great prophecy of Isaiah be fulfilled.
The God of a second
Some time passes and
Isaiah returned to confront Ahaz's unbelief this
time with a second son and another message (8:1-8).
Look at the significance
of the names in these chapters. There is Isaiah,
meaning, "Yahweh is salvation," or Shear–jashub, "a
remnant shall return." Now Isaiah walks up with his
second son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz! His name means
simply, "swift is the booty, speedy is the prey."
His name is vivid and filled with action; "speeding
to the plunder, hurrying to the spoil." If you don't
trust in God for salvation, judgment will be swift,
and the only thing that will be left is a small
remnant. That should have been enough to awakened
Ahaz you are trusting in
the wrong savior (8:13-14, 19-22). Instead of
putting your faith in Yahweh you are listening to
mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter. Then
he declares, "Should not a people consult their God?
Should they consult the dead on behalf of the
Where is your faith? In
whom are you trusting?
The result is
judgment (v. 21–22).
Judah had fallen into a
night without morning. It was a time of crisis and
panic. Gloom fills the land, and now judgement was
coming because of unbelief. "They will pass through
the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn
out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged
and curse their king and their God as they face
upward. Then they will look to the earth, and
behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish;
and they will be driven away into darkness."
This kind of darkness is
a frightening description of sin. The lost person
thinks he is in the light when indeed he dwells in
continuous darkness. Spiritual darkness adds to the
all–encircling gloom. However, on this background of
dark judgment and unbelief is painted a beautiful
picture of salvation for a sinful people.
THE GLORIOUS SALVATION
FOR A SINFUL PEOPLE (9:1-5)
There is light instead
of darkness (v. 1-2).
With poetic beauty in
verse two the prophet expands on the first
suggestion of the coming of the Messiah in 7:14.
"The people who walk in
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark
The light will shine on
God's presence is equated
with light in the Bible. "God is light, and in Him
there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5b). The
great light that will appear is the Messiah. Seven
hundred years later Jesus began His ministry right
here in this area of Galilee. Light includes every
possible blessing that the age of the Messiah can
bring. Jesus stood in the Temple and declared, "I am
the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not
walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of
life" (John 8:12).
Do you find yourself
groping in blind, spiritual darkness? Our society is
reeling from the effects of unfaithfulness to the
LORD God. We worship idolatrous images of
materialism, and prostitute ourselves to any deity
that will make us feel good and give in to our
desires and wants. We have lost our hope in this
spiritual darkness. The Apostle Paul wrote to the
church at Corinth, "For God, who said, 'Light shall
shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in
our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians
To those who trust
in the Lord there is joy instead of gloom (v. 3).
"You shall multiply the
You shall increase their
They will be glad in Your
As with the gladness of
As men rejoice when they
divide the spoil."
Because of the coming of
the Messiah, there will be "gladness" and joy before
the Lord. Joy exults in Him, His power and His
presence. The Lord is the source of their joy.
Do I speak to someone who
is covered with a thick cloud of all pervading
gloom? Here is hope in the only one who can lift us
from our gloom and doom. Even from a Roman prison
cell, the Apostle Paul could "rejoice" in his
chains. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will
say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).
There is freedom
instead of oppression (v. 4).
Isaiah addresses the
cause of the rejoicing. They rejoice because the
Lord has broken their chains. He has set them free.
Do I speak to someone who
feels like they are bound with chains? Isaiah said,
"For You shall break the yoke of their burden and
the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their
oppressor, as at the battle of Midian."
Jesus entered the
synagogue in Nazareth and the attendant handed Him a
copy of scroll containing Isaiah 61:1 and He began
reading it. Luke records the scene in Luke 4:18–19).
"The Spirit of the Lord
is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to
preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to
proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to
To set free those who are
To proclaim the favorable
year of the Lord."
There is peace
instead of war (v. 5).
Do you wonder when will
the inner war in your soul will ever end? Listen to
"For every boot of the
booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in
blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire."
THE SAVIOR OF THE
SINFUL PEOPLE (9:6-7)
This is the same
child foretold in 7:14.
The birth of this child
is a gift of God. He is a Child, but He is also a
Son. From early time, the Messiah was recognized as
son of David, a legitimate heir to David's throne
and the Son of God. He will in some significant way
appear on the scene as a child and will "be born" as
human beings are. Yet, He will "be given." He is a
Son par excellence. He is truly unique.
God incarnate! That is
the only way it could be accomplished. This is how
the Apostle Paul came to understand it. "He is the
image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all
creation . . . For it was the Father’s good pleasure
for all the fullness to dwell in Him. . . that is,
the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages
and generations, but has now been manifested to His
saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the
riches of the glory of this mystery among the
Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory"
(Colossians 1:15, 19–20, 26–27). The expected king
will be human and divine. He will be God–man. He
will have attributes of God and characteristics of
man. He is not some grotesque figure of science
fiction, but the very perfection of love.
Moreover, this child will
occupy a position of dignity––"the government will
rest on His shoulders" (Vv. 6b, 7). This child will
become a righteous ruler who will fulfil all the
expectations of the family of King David (Cf. II
Sam. 7:13–16). The Child is to be a King, a Ruler, a
Sovereign. However, He will not be merely a human
king. Clearly, He is the Messiah, the Anointed of
Yahweh. The ancient Jewish Targum explicitly
identified this person in Isaiah as the Messiah.
What kind of child
Isaiah describes for us
the character of this child.
–– Literally He is "wonder of a counselor." He gives
comfort and strength throughout time and eternity.
The Messiah is Himself a "Wonder." The word refers
to what God has done, not man. He is God Himself.
This Child is a Wonder. He will rule with unfailing
depth of Wisdom. He will not need counselors or a
cabinet; He is Himself Counselor. The emphasis of
His name is on teachings, character and life. He
will be most efficient in planning, formulating
action to carry out His plans. He is one counseling
Do you need wisdom in
this hour of need? One wag said, "A wise person
seeks much counsel. A fool listens to all of it!"
Here is the counselor worthy of the name. He doesn't
burnout. He is always on call. He is infinite
wisdom. Come and humble your heart and listen to
Him. Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, asked, Why do
you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I
say?" (Luke 6:46). He is worthy of our loyalty
because His counsel goes beyond the human
Jesus issues an
invitation to all who are in need of a wonderful
counselor to come to Him. "Come to Me, all who are
weary and heavy–laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest
for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is
light" (Matthew 11:28–30).
–– He is full omnipotence; El––the strong One.
Literally He is, the "God–hero." He is the Mighty
God. El gibbor always refers in the Old
Testament to God as Absolute Deity. The Messiah is
all–powerful, living, true God, omnipotent,
omnipresent and omniscient. Christ is the mighty El.
Jesus said, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
The Messiah is God Himself and He is able to save
all who trust in Him. He has nothing less than the
full omnipotence of God at His command. What He
devised He is able to achieve. Let Jesus Christ be
the "Mighty God" in your life.
–– He is everlastingly a Father. He is loving,
paternal, concerned, tender, faithful, wise,
guardian, provider and protector. Ps. 103:13, "Just
as a father has compassion on his children, So the
Lord has compassion on those who fear Him."
For those individuals in
our day who struggle for a positive father image
here is one who is worthy of the name. You can have
perfect security in an intimate love relationship
with your heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul
admonishes us in Romans 8:15–18 with these words:
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery
leading to fear again, but you have received a
spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out,
‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with
our spirit that we are children of God, and if
children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs
with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we
may also be glorified with Him." Here is a father
worthy of the name who will never leave your or
PRINCE OF PEACE
–– He rules over His people with peace. The peace He
gives is eternal. He is the embodiment of peace,
therefore He rules over His redeemed people as a
Prince bringing peace. In a post resurrection
appearance Jesus said to His disciples, "My peace, I
give you." The result of His coming into our hearts
by faith is perfect peace. Romans 5:1 reads,
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." He
gives us His indescribable peace the very moment we
put our trust in Him.
CHRIST THE FULFILLMENT
OF THE CHILD WITH FOUR NAMES
The Child to be
born is Jesus.
The physician Luke
recorded his investigation, "Blessed be the Lord God
of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished
redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn
of salvation for us in the house of David His
servant" (Luke 1:68-69).
Matthew was writing to
Jewish people to share with them the good news of
the coming of the Messiah. He began his
introduction, "The record of the genealogy of Jesus
the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham .
. . Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of
Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the
Messiah." "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the
east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who
has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star
in the east and have come to worship Him . . . ‘And
you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least
among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall
come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people
Israel.’" (Matt. 1:1, 16; 2:1-2, 6).
You cannot overlook the
powerful conclusion drawn by the rabbi Saul of
Tarsus, "a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as
an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which
He promised beforehand through His prophets in the
holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of
a descendant of David according to the flesh, who
was declared the Son of God with power by the
resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit
of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 1:1-4).
When you put your faith
in Jesus Christ, you have a Wonderful Counselor. Are
you looking for someone who will clear up your
confusion and give you wisdom? Have you lost the
Wonder of Christ? Stir up the coals; restore your
love for His wonder. Lord Jesus, will I see you
today? Feel like you are going through desolate
times of spiritual poverty? You have a
Wonder–Counselor. Get into His Word; listen to the
wonder of His counsel. There is only one person to
turn to when you come with the deepest questions of
When you believe in Jesus
Christ, you are trusting in the Mighty God. Do you
feel helpless in a confused and angry world? Are
carrying a heavy burden which is too heavy for you
alone to carry? The Mighty God is your strength.
There is nothing, which He cannot carry out. He is
able to save all who trust in Him.
When you believe in Jesus
Christ, you have an Eternal Father. Do you feel
orphaned? Feel like no one cares? Do you feel
insecure? You have one who always loves, concerned,
committed to what is best for you. One Father will
never leave you or forsake you. He gives us eternal
When you trust in Jesus
Christ, you have the Prince of Peace as your ruler.
Is there a storm brewing in your heart? Are you
anxious and restless? Here is the only one who can
give you deep inner peace. Need a shepherd for
stormy days? Let Him be your Prince.
Title: Isaiah 9:1-7
Name the Child
Old Testament Bible Studies