Though there are flashes of light in the first eight chapters of Isaiah, most of it is gloom and doom for God’s disobedient people. But when we arrive at Isaiah 9, the light is almost blinding, the promise almost too good to be true, and yet, it was true. It did happen, just as Isaiah said it would. And everyone who has received Jesus knows it is true, for God’s Spirit bears witness with his spirit,
and he rejoices,
“as with the joy of the harvest.” (Isaiah 9:3)
I was one who surrendered to Christ reluctantly,
because I became convinced
He was who He claimed to be.
The fear of the Lord brought me to my knees.
He took the blinders from eyes I didn’t know I was wearing. But I knew it when they were gone!
He took the yoke (Isaiah 9:4) from my back
I didn’t know I was carrying.
But I knew it when it was gone!
And when I look back over all these decades of God intervening in my life, of His presence, of His being with me,
I know that I know that I know
that unto us (unto me!)
a child is born.
Matthew Henry said that Isaiah said “is born” for it was so sure it was as if it was already accomplished.
I’d like you to watch just a minute and a half from a video from Tim Keller’s “The Reason for God.” In it, one of the unbelievers asked him if he would be open to their reasoning that what he professed was not true. I loved his answer. Watch from 18:10 to 19:30.
You cannot read Isaiah 9 without Handel’s Messiah
playing in your heart.
Handel is said to have written this in three weeks, never leaving his house. When a friend (or assistant) came to him at the end, he found Handel in tears saying, “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God.”
Handel had that existential experience which Keller speaks of, and which cannot be reasoned away.
Here is a brief account on this story from CBN:
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Share one existential experience that you have had that gives you confidence that Jesus, Immanuel, really exists and that He is with you.
Bible Study: Monday-Thursday
3. Read Isaiah 8 and share anything that quickens you.
4. The prophets often had to name their children terrible names as a witness to God’s people about what was going to happen to them as a result of their disobedience. Isaiah’s son was named before he was even conceived. The name “Maher-shalalhash-baz” means “quick to plunder, swift to the spoil.” This would be shouted by the soldiers as they came against Aram and Israel.
A. How long, according to Isaiah 8:4 would it be until this prophecy was fulfilled?
B. This did happen, as prophesied. Prophets would give a “near” prophecy to lend credence to the
“far” prophecy (that of Isaiah 9.) What was the first far prophecy given in Isaiah 9:1?
C. Read Matthew 4:12-16 and explain how the far prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled.
5. Isaiah, like so many of the prophets, had to watch God’s judgment on His disobedient people. What warning does God give Isaiah in Isaiah 8:11-14?
Peter quotes Isaiah in speaking to Christians about to be persecuted:
6. Why, in this day of increasing persecution, must we take this to heart?
Prepare you heart with this — I chose this rendition because it also shows artwork from the Masters.
7. Read Isaiah 9 and share anything that quickens you.
8. What do you learn about Jesus that has already happened, and what is still to happen? (Isaiah 9:6)
9. How has Jesus been a wonderful counselor to you in 2016?
10. Why do you think Jesus is called Mighty God and Everlasting Father since He is the 2nd person of the Trinity?
11. Describe the kind of government we shall one day know — and why can we be sure this will happen? (Isaiah 9:7)
12. Using the names Isaiah calls Jesus, write a prayer of praise and make it personal.
Optional Video — Watch this sometime this week (with your family, or while baking cookies or wrapping gifts!) See how many passages you recognize from Isaiah — and see if you can recognize artists you love when they were young!
13. Comments on the above?
14. What is your take-a-way and why?