One ways for people to keep focused on a difficult task or when they are in a difficult situation is to remember what they are going through will pass. Isaiah is going to encourage the followers of God to remember their future as they walk through the trials that are going to be caused by others. God does not promise us that life will be easy in fact He tells us the opposite will be true because sin has infected the world and because of sin people act selfishly and even evil at times.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Our peace comes not from what happens to us but the fact that Jesus died and rose again from the dead so that we could live eternally with Him. God will communicate through Isaiah about a glorious future that we can count on and a future that does not put us in denial about the trials we are facing but a future that puts our trials in perspective.
1) The Future is Bright
Isaiah 9:1-2 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.[b 2 [c] The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Gloom and anguish are two words people are familiar with in this world. Pain and suffering can make it seem like the misery will never end. When you have a gloomy outlook the world seems dark and there seems to be no hope not only in the present but the future as well. Isaiah wants the followers of God to know that no matter how dark the world will become around them there is a bright future ahead. Isaiah mentions areas of Israel that were the most war torn, pagan and overall the least likely area that would have a bright future. These areas were overrun by the Assyrian army months after Isaiah met with King Ahaz. We have to remember that no matter how dark our individual world or the world in general gets there is always hope in Christ because a glorious future waits for us.
“Walking in Darkness or a land of deep shadows.” The Bible equates darkness with being separated from God. (Matt 25:30;1 Peter 2:9) We cannot forget that people are blind to the ways of God and walking in darkness and therefore we need to have grace and mercy on them and pray for them. Darkness brings fear, uncertainty, danger and it also makes you not see everything correctly. The ultimate darkness is death but even that we do not have to be afraid of.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[a] I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Death is but a shadow to Jesus because He has already died and conquered death. As Christians we need to treat death as a shadow that might look scary but it really isn’t because we do not face death like the rest of the world. (1 Thess. 4:13)
“A Light has shined” If you have ever been in total darkness then you know any light is welcomed even if it is not that bright. Jesus is the light according to Matthew 4:13-16 which quotes this verse as proof that Jesus was God in the flesh. God is light (Psalm 27:1), God’s word is light (Psalm 119:105) Jesus is the light (John 8:12) and with Christ we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16) God has us here because we are the ones to help people get out of the dark by letting our light shine. Just like in Isaiah’s day not everyone will listen that Jesus is the way.
John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
People run from the light because they do not want to give up their evil deeds. We are called out of darkness to face the truth about ourselves and all of our sins and give our lives over to Jesus who is the one who can save us and put us in a right relationship with God. No matter what we face on this earth we will experience the light of Christ for eternity
Isaiah 9:3-5 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
2) The Future is Joyful
“They shall be joyful before you” They is plural for God’s people not a single nation. Where do we rejoice? Before the Lord. Our joy comes when we place our hope and trust in God and not in our leaders, military or financial institutions. Just like King Ahaz many peoples joy is dependent on things that will let them down. Joy at the Harvest: When the people would have an exceedingly great year they would break out in joy in singing and dancing because they knew that God had blessed them. It was a wild celebrative Joy like when you favorite team wins. Divide the Spoil: The enemy will be defeated the war clothes will be burned. Yoke of his burden: when sin and death will no longer be an issue anymore. The yoke was used on animals and people so they could carry more weight. They were not free but enslaved. The rod: used to punish will be taken away.
Are you looking forward to the day when your burdens are gone? We will work in Heaven but it will return to Gods original design. (Gen 2:15; Matt: 25:20) It will be paradise or also called “The Garden of God .”
John 8:34-36Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave[b] to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Our world believes they are free if they are able to give into every desire they have but it only leads them to more bondage. Jesus is the only one who can really free us from slavery and then we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of the King.
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[e] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
3) The Future is Jesus
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given The one prophesied about in Isaiah 7:14 is now further described. Born: the prophecy clearly states that God will come in the flesh. Given: to us because it was for our sake that Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins. We cannot earn our own salvation. The government will be upon His shoulder: He will be the ruler in the future and we will no longer have to worry about corrupt governing officials. Wonderful Counselor: Beyond human understanding with complete knowledge and wisdom. Wonderful also means miraculous meaning that He would show the miracles of God. One of the signs the people should have looked for was the miracles. They saw them but they still did not believe in Him. (John 3:2) Mighty God: A warrior who was also God. Everlasting Father: The Old Testament does not expressly talk about the trinity. Father is a King (1 Samuel 24:12) the one who will rule and everlasting because Jesus was before the world began. Everlasting cannot apply to any human ruler and Jesus can give us eternity with Him. Prince of Peace: Again as ruler but also peace is not meant to show Jesus demeanor it is more a keeper of the peace or one who can make peace happen. The future will be peace because there will be no more wars, pain, suffering or separation from those we love.
The focus on the future was to give hope to the people in Isaiah’s day that no matter how bad things got a better day is waiting for those who put their trust in God and specifically Jesus. No politician or government will ever bring about the future that we have waiting for us. This future is God initiated and He will bring it to pass. The people in Isaiah’s day were going through a very dark period of life and for those who trusted in God it was important that they looked toward the future and not their present circumstances. Do not allow the things that are taking place in our world detour you from focusing on what God is doing. His promises are true and one day all the things of the world will be gone. I would encourage you to Focus on the future as you live your daily lives because it is by focusing on the future that it will keep this life in perspective.