God’s Word Goes Forth: Spread Tidings of Joy to Everyone
Isaiah 8:1—9:7: Isaiah is told to give his newborn son a name that symbolizes that the kings of Israel and Syria will be destroyed quickly by their Assyrian foes. Isaiah warns of the Assyrian attack and God’s coming judgment against Judah because Ahaz preferred to seek an alliance with Assyria rather than relying on God. Isaiah is told by God to remain faithful. After more warnings are given and a time of trouble is foretold, Isaiah speaks words of hope about the coming of a righteous king and his reign of justice and peace.
Today's Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” Prince of Peace.”
1 The LORD said to me, “Take a large piece of writing material and write on it in large letters: “Quick Loot, Fast Plunder.” 2 Get two reliable men, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah, to serve as witnesses. ” 3 Some time later my wife became pregnant. When our son was born, the LORD said to me, “Name him “Quick-Loot-Fast-Plunder.” 4 Before the boy is old enough to say “Mamma” and “Daddy,” all the wealth of Damascus and all the loot of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria. ” 5 The LORD spoke to me again. 6 He said, “Because these people have rejected the quiet waters of Shiloah Brook and tremble before King Rezin and King Pekah, 7 I, the Lord, will bring the emperor of Assyria and all his forces to attack Judah. They will advance like the flood waters of the Euphrates River, overflowing all its banks. 8 They will sweep through Judah in a flood, rising shoulder high and covering everything. ” God is with us! His outspread wings protect the land. 9 Gather together in fear, you nations! Listen, you distant parts of the earth. Get ready to fight, but be afraid! Yes, get ready, but be afraid! 10 Make your plans! But they will never succeed. Talk all you want to! But it is all useless, because God is with us. 11 With his great power the LORD warned me not to follow the road which the people were following. He said, 12 “Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. 13 Remember that I, the LORD Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear. 14 Because of my awesome holiness I am like a stone that people stumble over; I am like a trap that will catch the people of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the people of Jerusalem. 15 Many will stumble; they will fall and be crushed. They will be caught in a trap. ” 16 You, my disciples, are to guard and preserve the messages that God has given me. 17 The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him. 18 Here I am with the children the LORD has given me. The LORD Almighty, whose throne is on Mount Zion, has sent us as living messages to the people of Israel. 19 But people will tell you to ask for messages from fortunetellers and mediums, who chirp and mutter. They will say, “After all, people should ask for messages from the spirits and consult the dead on behalf of the living.” 20 You are to answer them, “Listen to what the LORD is teaching you! Don't listen to mediums—what they tell you cannot keep trouble away. ” 21 The people will wander through the land, discouraged and hungry. In their hunger and their anger they will curse their king and their God. They may look up to the sky 22 or stare at the ground, but they will see nothing but trouble and darkness, terrifying darkness into which they are being driven. 1 There will be no way for them to escape from this time of trouble. The land of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali was once disgraced, but the future will bring honor to this region, from the Mediterranean eastward to the land on the other side of the Jordan, and even to Galilee itself, where the foreigners live. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them. 3 You have given them great joy, Lord; you have made them happy. They rejoice in what you have done, as people rejoice when they harvest grain or when they divide captured wealth. 4 For you have broken the yoke that burdened them and the rod that beat their shoulders. You have defeated the nation that oppressed and exploited your people, just as you defeated the army of Midian long ago. 5 The boots of the invading army and all their bloodstained clothing will be destroyed by fire. 6 A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” 7 His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David's successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The LORD Almighty is determined to do all this.
In yesterday’s reading, “Immanuel” (God is with us) in Isaiah 7:14 served to indicate that God would be Judah’s ally; however, since King Ahaz rejected that sign, “God is with us” now symbolizes God’s vengeance (8:5-10). Are there implications today for not heeding God’s voice? Explain. The LORD tells Isaiah “not to follow the road which the people were following” (8:11). Have you ever felt the need to yield to peer pressure even though you knew that to do so was not God’s will? What was the result? Reread Isaiah 9:2-7. In Christian tradition, 9:6-7 is interpreted as referring to the coming of the messianic king. How is this king and his kingdom described? You may wish to compare Isaiah 9:6-7 with Isaiah 11:1-5 (the reading from December 1). What similarities do you find?
Lord God Almighty, your reign is eternal. You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace. Trusting in your promises, I am filled with hope and I praise your glorious name. Amen.
Parents and children
Luke 1:1-25: The birth of John the Baptist is announced.