Opening Prayer

Through your Word, Father, give me ever-growing reason for thanksgiving and praise. Increase my understanding of the victories that are mine in Christ.

Read ISAIAH 8:19 – 9:7

The Darkness Turns to Light

19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

[a]Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.


  1. Isaiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-21 is numbered 9:1-20.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘O loving wisdom of our God! / When all was sin and shame, / a second Adam to the fight / and to the rescue came.’1

Think Further

‘I am making everything new!’2 These words could describe the transformation from the empty darkness of 8:19–22 to the vision of light of 9:1–7. Brueggemann calls it something ‘completely fresh and without extrapolation from anything that has gone before.’3 Isaiah criticizes a culture that disdains the wisdom of the Lord Almighty, seeking direction from other spiritual sources and refusing to listen to God (vv. 19, 20). It leaves them, in Paul’s words, ‘darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God.’4 In current culture, the phrase ‘follow the science’ has become common. If this means excluding the living God from discussion, something fundamental is missing from every argument, with fearful and distressing consequences (v. 22).

This despair can only be overcome by the ‘zeal’ (9:7) or passion of God, which touches even lands that have long been in death-like darkness. Isaiah’s images of harvest and military victory catch something of the elation. Drawing on Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites (v. 4) is particularly poignant, given the unexpected victory with a tiny force of men. Peace has come and the enemy is humiliated – and it starts small, with the birth of a child. What follows goes way beyond what any human king could aspire to. This King plans without the limited knowledge that dogs earthly kings; his might is great but not unregulated. It is under the control of Father-like love and desire for shalom, justice, and righteousness. There is no end, geographically or temporally, to his reign. This cannot apply to any coming human king, even the lauded Hezekiah. Isaiah was unaware of the full future, but we recognize in this the coming of the kingdom of God, inaugurated in our Lord Jesus Christ and ending in everything being made new.


Passages like this bring us to our knees in worship, rather than to discussion. Allow these descriptions of the coming King to form prayers of deep gratitude.

Closing prayer

Holy Spirit, as I face different challenges and disappointments, use the Word you have hidden in my heart to remind me of the loving faithfulness of my Savior, Jesus.

Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by kingstar

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