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Isaiah 9:6

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.

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

Dear God, it’s interesting to take these verses out of context and read them knowing what we know now as opposed to how the people (maybe even Isaiah) interpreted them when they were written. Here are verses 1-5, leading up to this verse:

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

The people who walk in darkness
    will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
    a light will shine.
You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
    and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest
    and like warriors dividing the plunder.
For you will break the yoke of their slavery
    and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
    just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
The boots of the warrior
    and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
    They will be fuel for the fire.

Isaiah 9:1-5 (NLT)

I went to verse 6 this morning because I was thinking about it after hearing it in the performance of Handel’s Messiah which I saw last week. He took one verse and made a beautiful song out of it. A current Christmas classic nearly 300 years later. And it’s easy to see Jesus and the fallout from his arrival in that verse. But verses 1-5. How do we lay those on Jesus? In real time, I’m sure they read them as freedom from whatever oppressor was over them at the time (which turned out to be Rome). But I think, looking back, this probably had more to do with the unseen oppressor that tends to get us all.

The part about the people seeing a great light and you enlarging the nation of Israel. They thought that meant military victory and border expansion. I know now that you meant me. I’m now part of your people because the child was born.

The part about you freeing from slavery and breaking the oppressors rod was probably, once again, seen as a leader overthrowing a physical oppressor. What Jesus ended up doing was overthrowing Satan and freeing me from his power.

So what does this have to do with today? Well, there are a lot of moving parts to my life, and I tend to look at only the physical. What is happening in my physical life? What I need to do more of is pay attention to how the world I can see is interacting with the world I cannot see. What is the cause and effect between the worlds, and what kind of sacrifices do I need to make in the physical world to ensure that I am doing my part to be your agent of good in the spiritual world?

Father, thank you that, unto me, a child was born. Yes, he was born for others, but Jesus is as much about me as anyone. Thank you. I pray over my children, my wife, and the rest of my family. My friends. My coworkers. My community. My world. Unto all of us a child was born. Bring us to a place where we can worship him completely, denying ourselves.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2021 in Isaiah

 

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“Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts

“Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts (Arr. from George F. Handel)

Joy to the World! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and Nature sing
And heaven, and heaven
and nature sing

Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns
Let me their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat
The sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as
The curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of
His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders
Of His love

Dear God, here’s a classic that I remember hearing a lot when my mom would play Christmas music when I was little. I have to say that I listened to several versions of this on YouTube before I found the link above, but the only one I wanted to hear was the full choir version. It’s just the one that I know best and that sounds right.

So let’s see what I notice in these lyrics that I’ve missed before:

  • Verse 1: This one is just straight forward and the one that most people reading this will know without having to look at the words. But what’s it implore us to do. First, we should be full of joy because you came to earth! We should receive you. On an individual level, we should “prepare” room for you. Sidebar, I think the idea of preparing room for your is important. We don’t just welcome you into our heart, but we prepare the space for you like space is prepared for a guest staying in our home. We clean. We purge. We throw things away. The same is true for our hearts. We need to prepare room for you and that includes repenting and turning from sin. And, of course, while we do this, heaven and nature will be singing about this wonderful news.
  • Verse 2: This verse makes me think of the verse in Luke 19:40 when Jesus says that if the people stopped praising then the rocks would cry out. We need to praise you with songs and acclamation because the fields, waters, rocks, hills, and plains are already doing it.
  • Verse 3: Going back to verse 1, this verse gets into preparing our hearts (the soil of our hearts) for you. This reminds me of the journal I did several weeks ago about the parable of the sower and how we need to be continually weeding and removing the thorns from the soil of our hearts to ensure that your Spirit has a place to grow and return the highest yield possible.
  • Verse 4: I’ve got to say, I don’t know about this verse. Perhaps this is post-tribulation, but it doesn’t feel like you are ruling the earth. Of course, you are the author and creator. You made us all. And you are truth and grace. But right now the nations are not proving the glories of our righteousness or the wonders of your love.

Father, once again, I am left thinking that I need to constantly be preparing room for you in my heart. It’s a moment by moment thing and not just something I do once. And I also need to remember the joy of all of this. You came! You lived! You Sacrificed and Won! You will reign forever! Let me be filled with joy!

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in Christmas Hymns, Hymns and Songs

 

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