As I read today’s chapter, I’m reminded of God’s desire to have an intimate relationship with His people. Even in the midst of this pronouncement of judgement upon the nation of Israel, there is hope. As bad as everything sounds, somehow it could be worse:
1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow. 3 Israel will again be great, and its people will rejoice as people rejoice at harvesttime. They will shout with joy like warriors dividing the plunder. 4 For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon’s little band. 5 In that day of peace, battle gear will no longer be issued. Never again will uniforms be bloodstained by war. All such equipment will be burned.
In spite of the continued turning away from God, in spite of the bold-face rebellion of His people, God tells of a message of hope through His prophet Isaiah. How is God going to bring about rejoicing, joy and peace? Look at verse 2 above for a clue. What is this “great light?” Continue reading in the chapter and you’ll find out:
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!
Keep in mind that the book of Isaiah was written somewhere in the 700BC to 681BC range. Christ was not to be born for another several hundred years. The impending destruction that Isaiah is speaking of is only a few years off, but God had a plan to redeem His people. The best choice was for the people to turn from their wicked ways and follow Him. But, God realized that the only way for us to have any hope of a relationship with Him called for a sacrifice.
Can you see God’s compassion? Can you see how much He loves His people? Can you see how much He loves You? He is a holy God and cannot tollerate sin. Our choices to disobey cause consequences even today. Yet, because of God’s plan and Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be clean before Him and we can have an intimate relationship with Him. It still calls for us to choose to obey. We will sin, but we must repent and turn back.
If you find yourself far from God today because of something you did, or even because of something that happened that you didn’t cause, know this: God love you and wants you to love Him. He has made the way. Start small – just talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal His love to you. Take that first step towards Him and He will do the rest.
Lord, draw men unto You today!