Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV)
Verse 2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness- on them light has shined. Verse 3You 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. Verse 4For 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. Verse 5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. Verse 6For 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. Verse 7His 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.
This psalm of the prophet Isaiah is quite a contrast to Psalm 80 (see December 17 devotion), where Israel cries to God and accuses God of giving them only tears to eat as bread. Now they are not so worried about who was plundered, for the goods are all theirs! Enemy soldiers are dead, and Israel is back to thriving as a nation and as a culture. It is startling to see how quickly Israel goes from victim to victor. What do they need saving from now?
Maybe they need saving from their short memory. Their confidence that there shall be endless peace for the throne of David places a strong trust in God, but can they uphold their end of the bargain? If history tells us anything, we know the answer is no.
And yet, Jesus remains the one born unto us. He remains the light — the light in which we stand,
the light in which our darkness is flooded out. Yes, Jesus saves us from our enemies. He also saves us from ourselves.
Thank you, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace. Please continue to rule over us and remain with us so that we can turn the tide of history. Amen.