The Gospel writer tells us that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. In Matthew 4, Matthew quotes this verse when Jesus begins His ministry, specifically when He begins preaching His message of repentance. Jesus is indeed the great light, the light of the world! Matthew helps us understand the prophecy of Isaiah 9, especially what the prophet says in verses 6-7:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end…Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah knows that this is a difficult time for the people. Anxiety is high; people are worried about their lives, worried about their future. But Isaiah never tells them to panic. Yes, the enemy is marching to Jerusalem, but Isaiah seems to think this is the perfect time to reflect on what God is doing rather than what the enemy is doing. Once again, we’re talking about seeing with those spiritual eyes.
In one sense, it’s really important to be aware of your enemy. There are times when it is appropriate to think about what the enemy is doing, how the enemy is going to attack, etc. But Isaiah calls us to think about something even more important — he calls us to look at what God is doing in our lives rather than what the enemy is doing. We find comfort when we look to what God is doing — which is why there’s so much about this in the Scriptures. The Bible contains stories and examples and parables and promises that tell us what God is doing in the world! And that is far more important than what the enemy is doing! This is such an incredible gift that God has given to us!
Just take a moment to think about the promises in the Scriptures. God intends for us to think about those promises repeatedly throughout the week, not just during a worship assembly. God intended for the citizens of Jerusalem to call to mind His promises right there in the midst of their fears, with the enemy breathing down their necks. This is the essence of faith! And He intends for us to do the same thing because those promises are a true gift for us to rely upon in the darkness of our fears. That is how we can see the light in the midst of all the darkness: by remembering the promise of God.
A few weeks back, we talked about the promise God makes when He says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am with you. We said God promises to deliver those who put their trust in Him. Over the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve found yourself in situations where you were tempted to give in to fear. Or maybe you were tempted to give in to despair or disillusionment. These are the spiritual battles we face every day. But being mindful of God’s promise can make such a difference in those moments. When we remember that God promises to never leave us, never forsake us, we find strength in our moment of weakness. So you can see how these promises are such a gift from God!
For many of us, this probably isn’t new information. Many of us have heard this promise before, that God will never leave us nor forsake us. We just need mechanisms that help call these promises to mind in the everyday moments of our lives.
- If you’re a visual person, that might mean writing one of these promises on a note and putting it somewhere you can see it every day — your bathroom mirror, your desk at work, etc.
- Maybe you need to create a voice memo on your phone — you can record yourself reading these promises and then play it back until it’s written on your heart.
- Maybe you need to incorporate one of God’s promises into your prayer life until you have it committed fully to memory.
Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll remember this point: Don’t focus so much on what the enemy is doing that you lose sight of what our God is doing. Our enemy is certainly active. But our God is stronger.