Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023: December 12 - Promise

Tuesday, December 12th: Promise

Read Isaiah 7-9.

We read these chapters in Isaiah most often in church during Christmas.  Out of many of the promises concerning Jesus, these chapters tell us of his birth and ministry.
In Chapter 7, King Ahaz, a descendant of David, is making a gamble.  The Empire of Assyria is coming to make war against the tiny kingdom of Judah and Ahaz has decided to make an alliance with Egypt.  Of course, doing this was against the covenant with God to not make alliances with any nation, especially Egypt of all people.  But Ahaz has done it.

So the Prophet Isaiah comes during a stressful moment in Ahaz’s reign.  He has promised him that trusting firm in the Lord will be all that he needs.  And he even asks King Ahaz to ask God for a sign, any sign, that God will pull through for them.
Ahaz is able to pretend to be pious because he thinks he has already worked things out with an alliance.  He says that he will not put God to the test, which all things considered, is really putting the Lord to the test.

So God says he will provide the sign himself, and in a moment gives a slip to one of the greatest prophecies concerning Christ, that a virgin will conceive and bear a Son and he will be named Immanuel, which in Hebrew means “God with us.”  This becomes the book end for Matthew’s Gospel.  Jesus is promised by the angel to be the fulfillment of this prophecy.  And in Matthew 28, Jesus bids farewell by noting that he will be with us always until the end of the age.

In Isaiah 9, Isaiah makes a note that the lands of Naphtali and Zebulun, which become part of Gentile territory, will have a unique blessing in the latter days.  In the Old Testament, the latter days most often refer to the age of the Messiah.  So, when Isaiah is thinking that, we are thinking the age of Jesus Christ, which we are in today.
Isaiah proclaims that those who live in those areas will have front row seats to God’s action on earth through his Son.  And indeed, it was these areas around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus spent much of his time and ministry.  These verses are even included in the Gospel of Matthew as well.

Later in Chapter 9, we are given the promise that Jesus is born for us.  To us a child a born, to us a son is given.  And he will be the Lord and his kingdom will have no end.  Isaiah is giving us a tour of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that no other prophet had.