International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday August 12, 2012
Purpose: To celebrate our citizenship in the reign of God inaugurated by Jesus
Scripture Text: Isaiah 9:2-7
Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV)
(2) The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. (3) You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. (4) For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. (5) For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. (6) For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Often the book of Isaiah is looked at as only a book of prophecy concerning future events, but it was also an historical book recording the life of a nation. At the time of Isaiah’s writing the twelve tribes of Jacob/Israel were divided into two separate nations. The ten tribes to the north were called Israel, with their capital in Samaria. The remaining two tribes to the south were called Judah and the capital was Jerusalem.
While Isaiah was a prophet primarily for the southern kingdom of Judah, God saw fit to share with Isaiah some things that were going to happen to the northern kingdom. The Northern Kingdom of Judah was about to fall, or had already fallen to the Assyrians. The Southern Kingdom as prophesied by Isaiah would later fall to the Babylonians.
The other historical fact is that Isaiah prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah who served Judah for twenty-nine years. Hezekiah was a good king, he removed the worship of idols, and even destroyed the brazen serpent that Moses/Aaron had made and the people were worshiping. God gave Hezekiah an additional 15 years, and Hezekiah led a revival among the people the priest and Levites. I think that explains our beginning verse, the revival of Hezekiah had brought light and indeed things were pretty good in Jerusalem. The reference to “the day of Midian” probably refers to the battle entered into by Gideon, but the victory was obviously the LORDS,
Knowing that what Isaiah saw would eventually become reality at a future time does not lessen the prophecy at the time of its writing. It might be possible that Isaiah thought he was talking about Hezekiah, but God had a bigger plan that would come true some 800 years later in Bethlehem.
Isaiah's prophesy would go well beyond Bethlehem of Judea into a time we have yet to see. The promises of God are as sure for the future as they are accurate of the past. Much of the New Testament begins with proof of Jesus’ claim to the throne of David; all of the genealogy is written to prove Jesus’ right to the throne of David.
This new Kingdom will last for all of eternity (onward and forevermore). This new Kingdom that Christ will rule will finally bring justice and righteousness to God's creation. Halleluiah.