In the worst of times, God’s people have a “nevertheless” to comfort them (v. 1) and balance their troubles.
As the saints then comforted themselves with the hope of Christ’s first coming,
so now His second coming is the great hope of every dark day.
1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
8 ¶ The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
13 ¶ For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
18 ¶ For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 8:19-22; 9:1-7 – The Prince of Peace
When men cease to trust in God and rely on the help of man, they often turn to necromancy and spirit-rapping. The medium takes the place of the Mediator. The séance is sought after instead of the Law and the Testimony. What have God’s children to do with back-stair gossip, when their Father’s presence-chamber is open to them? What He does not tell us is not worth our knowing.
The land of Galilee was destined to suffer sorely, but better days would dawn on its mountains and lakes. The joy that was in store is compared to the daybreak, Isaiah 8:2; to the joy of harvest, Isaiah 8:3; and to the gladness of the harried tribes when Gideon broke the power of Midian, Isaiah 8:4. The implements of battle would become fuel for the peasants’ cottage-fires. What titles are these for our Lord! They befit no human babe! Let us place the government of our lives on His shoulders; and as it extends so shall our peace. Ask God’s zeal to do this for thee! In the power of His grace, put the government of all on the wonderful Son of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
It is claimed by many observers that a two-horse wagon has never gone where the Bible did not go first. It is certainly a significant fact that international commerce has everywhere followed in the wake of the gospel. The intrepid missionary invaded the wilds of China, India, Madagascar and the islands of the southern sea long before the trading ships of the merchants dared to enter their ports. Everywhere the foul and ravenous beasts of tyranny, ignorance and superstition have retired at the introduction of the glorious light of the cross. Christianity, has blazed the pathway and civilization has followed. Now the rainbow arch of the gospel spans the continents and seas, from Greenland’s icy mountains to India’s coral strands, and we seem to hear the glad shout of ten million ransomed souls who sing with the ancient Psalmist, “The entrance of thy words giveth light” (Psalm 119:130).
Isaiah 9:7—Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.
Is the government of your life upon his shoulder? In olden times the badge of office was worn there, and in some cases a key (Isaiah 22:22). It was on his shoulder that Aaron bore the names of the tribes. The shoulder is the symbol of strength. It is well when the government of our lives rests on the strong Son of God. It is a blessed day in our experience that witnesses the transference of the rule of life to the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God; because all these exalted altitudes of his nature well qualify Him to become the King and Guide of men.
The moment of definitely imposing the government upon the Lord Jesus is generally a marked one in our lives. It stands out as the first of a long series. It is the staple for a chain of successive links, because we are always increasing that government in proportion as we become more familiar with our nature and opportunities, and as new departments of our life open up before us. You were consecrated before marriage, but after you have a home of your own there is a widening of the sphere of Christ’s government.
But just in proportion to the increase of his government will be the increase of your peace. As the one extends, so does the other. And he who has extended the dominion of Jesus to the furthest limits of his being, will know most of the peace that passeth understanding. There is Peace where there is Unity; where the soul has but one object to engross its love and aim; where it is able to count on the illimitable stores of its King.
“Yield to the Lord, with simple heart,
All that thou hast and all thou art!
Renounce all strength but strength divine,
And Peace shall be for ever thine!” —Our Daily Homily
Isaiah 9:8-17 – False Leadership Brings Ruin
The grievous sins of the Chosen People are again enumerated. They defied God, Isaiah 8:9-10. They refused to repent; they were blind and deaf and profane, Isaiah 8:13. Their religious and political leaders led them astray, Isaiah 8:16. What could they expect but the letting loose of the judgments of the Almighty!
Isaiah’s protests were disregarded, and II Kings 15 tells the sequel. It seems very terrible. But what would the forest-glades become if there were not a perfect machinery for the instant removal of all traces of disease, decay, and death! What is true in the physical is true also in the moral sphere. When a nation has ceased to help, and has commenced to impede the progress of humanity, it must be put out of the way. —Through the Bible Day by Day
THE PARTY COLLAR.
The influence of the saloon in politics is not entirely due to the political boss who makes the gin-mill his headquarters. He would be powerless for harm were it not for the infinite multitude of so-called respectable voters who degrade their intelligence and dignity by working and voting shoulder to shoulder with social outlaws. Under a false notion of fealty these men subject their neck to the party collar and go to the polls yoked with ignorance and crime, and at the heels of some low-browed political dictator they sacrifice their country’s weal on the altar of partisan allegiance.