Week 3, Day 7

READ: Isaiah 7-9:7

BACKGROUND: This section of Isaiah is a prophecy specifically directed toward the nation of Judah (the Southern Kingdom after Israel & Judah split) and its king, Ahaz. It also kicks off a larger section of prophecy about the Messiah (the anointed one) who would one day come to save the world. The events that Isaiah prophecied in chapters 7 & 8 all took place. Most took place within a few years with the exception of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:8, which specifically said it would happen within 65 years (which it did, in 670 BC). The actual unfolding of these events is chronicled in 2 Kings 16:5-18 & 2 Chronicles 28:5-21. Isaiah 9:1-7 is a very specific Messianic prophecy foretelling the coming of Jesus and the kingdom he would one day set up. This was written 7 centuries before Jesus was born!

By verse:
7:3 – Shear-jashub means “A remnant shall return.”
4 – “Two smoldering stubs” = Aram/Damascus, crushed by Tiglath-Pileser III in 732 BC & Israel, defeated in the same year.
11-12 – This is an interesting exchange. God offers a sign because he wants to strengthen the faith of Ahaz. Ahaz, though, very piously and righteously responds that he will not test God (not testing God was part of the Law – Deuteronomy 6:16). However, this response is hypocritical because Ahaz is trying to appear righteous when, all along, he has put his trust in an alliance with Assyria rather than putting his trust in God. This is worse than asking for a sign! Also, it didn’t work out well.  In verses 17-25 Isaiah basically tells Ahaz that the alliance with Assyria is going to prove very costly.
14-16 – This is a foreshadowing of the Mary and the birth of Jesus. This prophecy, though, was intended to come true within a couple of years, and it did – through the birth of Isaiah’s 2nd son who was nicknamed Immanuel (which means “God with us”). The word “virgin”, here, as in other places in the Old Testament, just means that the woman is currently a virgin and this prophecy doesn’t say that the conception will be supernatural. Although, this story is a type that foretells the story we find in Matthew where the virgin becomes pregnant supernaturally.
20 – “The LORD will shave with a razor”? Forcible shaving of a man’s head or beard was humiliating. God will humble the nation and bring it to its knees.
22 – Curds & honey were the food of nomadic peoples who had no land of their own to settle. Isaiah is saying Judah will be totally destroyed.
8:1 – Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz roughly translates “Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.”
6 – Shiloam was a healing pool which signified God’s help and his healing hand. The irony, here, is that he is offering it and Judah is unwilling to accept it.
8 – Sennacherib invaded Judah in 701 BC and only Jerusalem was spared.
11 – Isaiah lived counter-culturally.
12 – Those who thought the best political plan was alliance with Assyria accused Isaiah of being a conspirator for speaking out against the alliance and calling on the nation to trust God.
9:1-7 – This is specifically about Jesus. It is predicting the coming of the Messiah.
1 – The land allotted to the tribes of Zebulun & Naphtali was conquered by the Assyrians, but it was “made glorious” when Jesus did ministry there. Their land was roughly the region known in the New Testament as Galilee.
1 – For the Gentiles. This Messiah is for the whole world.

THINK: I want to do something just a little bit different today. I think that Isaiah 9:1-7 is one of the most incredible, inspiring, and important passages in the entire Bible. It predicts the coming of Jesus 700 years before he came. And it gives us an amazing portrait of who God is and what he is doing to heal and restore this world. So, I want you start by rereading Isaiah 9:1-7. Then, read the following statements and, as you read each one ask: What does this tell me about who God is, what does this tell me about what he is doing in the world, & how does this give me hope?

  • Jesus is a light shining to illuminate every dark place in this world.
  • Being in God’s presence ultimately brings gladness.
  • God can break our brokenness.
  • Jesus came as a child.
  • The government will rest upon his shoulders.
  • In the Hebrew language, “wonderful” indicates something supernatural and “counselor” indicates kingship. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor.
  • “Mighty” indicates all-powerful and “God” indicates divinity & perfection. Jesus is the Mighty God.
  • “Eternal” indicates permanent existence and a role as Creator and “father” indicates guarding, loving, providing, & protecting. Jesus is the Eternal Father.
  • “Prince” indicates ruling and “peace” or shalom indicates something far more than just the absence of war – it indicates complete satisfaction and wholeness and fullness and health and safety and prosperity and perfection. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
  • When he returns, there will be no end to his shalom.

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