In this sermon Tim unpacks the next chunk of Isaiah, looking at three messianic passages about a child that is to come.These passages look at how God will be with us, how the child will sit on the throne as the one true King and how the child will bring the peace or Shalom of God. Tim also encourages us to think about our lives, are we connected to Jesus? Do we bear fruit? Do we bring the peace of God wherever we go?
Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday October 17, 2021.
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Isaiah Week 3 – A Child in Born
Welcome and Introduction
- I am glad so many of you are challenged by Isaiah, as am I…
I am tempted to give an overview of the last two weeks… but go listen to the sermon on the church website. It’s on Spotify, its on the website, you can read it, you can listen to it.
- So keep up! There will be a test at the end. Haha… or an essay.
- I can’t re-introduce the book of Isaiah every week… but it is so important moving forward that you’ve listened to the first 2 weeks…
- Last week we looked at the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5 as an apt parable for the state of affairs for God’s people when Isaiah wrote.
- Leading to the seven woes… I like a bit of judgement… as long as you are pointing finger at yourself and not others… Jesus judge not less you be judged…
- So we come to the next chapters that address specifically where hope for God’s people will come from in the midst of what looks like judgement and defeat.
And it I was going to give a cute analogy of the power of hope when all seems lost.
- But I couldn’t think of any… and it would have been trite anyhow…
- And I’d much rather we get stuck into the Word of God.
So today we move from Isaiah 5-6 to Isaiah 7-12, which if you remember from our introduction is God’s word to his people concerning judgement and future hope.
- And it is a remarkable section of scripture where a mysterious child is promised in several sections.
- Now to us who know Jesus, it is pretty obvious who fulfils these promises…
- But to the people reading or hearing Isaiah, it would have been quite baffling as to what God was going to do. Who is this child?
- Anyhow, clearly what we will see today is that this child to come will be a sign from God, will reign and will usher in an era of peace and justice.
So I will read a few bigger chunks of scripture this morning and then we will look at how that gets answered in the coming of Jesus…
- Now obviously we look at these passages and they are kind of cool right? They are interesting, if for no other reason, than 700 years later they meet their fulfilment.
- But I also want us to consider what the nature of the reign of the one we call Lord means for us.
- So these are more than just proof texts for Jesus when we are doing apologetics… right?
- I mean I love knowing the way Jesus so intricately fulfils so many of these promises…
- But there are some powerful implications us as we come to understand the nature of our messiah – because this impacts what we his followers should also be about?
- Right? For peacemaking, for justice and righteousness, for being faithful covenant keepers.
- Sounds good?
3 main messianic passages paint the picture of hope in Isaiah 7-12.
- First one in Isaiah 7 is that this child will be a miraculous sign of God with us. Immanuel.
- The second one in Isaiah 9 is that this child will reign on the throne as the true King
- Third passage in Isaiah 11 is that this child will bring the long promised shalom or peace of God.
- So a sign, a King and peace as what we need to look for in God’s plan of bringing hope
Before we start, one of the clearest signs that all of this is important and true is of course that the Gospel writers speaking about Jesus, say Isaiah is being fulfilled.
- You get this in a bunch of places in the all 4 gospels and you can go and read them for yourselves to see just often Isaiah is quoted…
- But consider John 12:41. It says having just quoted a bit about Isaiah 6; “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.”
- Pretty cool.
- The gospel writers clearly understand Jesus in terms of Isaiah, and more than that, they understood under the inspiration of God that Isaiah foresaw Jesus’ glory.
So we did the parable of the vineyard last week, where God plants his people in a good land to produce good fruit, but he only finds bad fruit.
- And then we get the seven woes pointing out where they have gone wrong. Things like greed, immorality and so on.
- And then we get the judgement of God on them, having failed to keep their side of the covenant.
- And so Isaiah asks, how will restoration occur? How will hope make a comeback, how will God act?
- And so a child’s arrival signals the end of doom… God has not given up on forming a people who will bless all the families of earth.
So the first big promise of a child is in Isaiah 7:10-14
We pick up at verse 13…
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
So we are told that hope and restoration will come through a sign, a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
- Now the idea of a sign is important in the history of God’s people.
- A sign always signifies a direct divine intervention.
- Think Exodus where continually God says to Moses, “I will give you a sign.’ And it always refers to some miracle or divine act of rescue.
- So this first child will be a sign. A remarkable miracle that will involve a virgin conceiving… this will be a divine intervention in human history unlike any other.
And this child will be called Immanuel. That of course being Hebrew for “God with us”.
- So somehow in this child the presence of God will be made known.
- Into the questions and longings of the human heart that ask, where are you God, and what are you like.
- This child will be God with us. A sign, a revelation, an awesome and clear intervention in history that will assure us that hope has arrived!
So if you have ever been to any Christmas service anywhere, ever… you will know Matthew 1:22-23
- Matthew the gospel writer after telling the story of Joseph and Mary and the virgin conception of Jesus
- Says this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us).
- The idea of conception between a virgin and the Holy Spirit being that in Jesus we will meet someone fully God and fully human.
- And all through the Gospels the significance of this is that in Jesus we can know God, we can trust God, and be reconciled to God. This is God with us.
So the second big promise in Isaiah of a child is found in 9:2-7.
I think you will know this one…
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 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.
4 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. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
6 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.
7 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.
So again, if you have ever been to a Christmas service anywhere… ever… you will know this passage!
- To people walking in darkness, a light appears… there will be rejoicing and the oppressors rod will be broken off an enslaved people. Hostility will end…
- For to us a child is born, he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
- And then the promise that this ruler will reign on David’s throne forever, establishing it with justice and righteousness.
- It’s a remarkable promise! A child whose reign signals the end of gloom and the dawning of a Kingdom of light!
Now this would have particularly struck Isaiah’s contemporaries, because this King was to be everything that their Kings had meant to be, but were not.
- And all of the attributes are the character and attributes of God through their history.
- Do you remember a few weeks ago how I said that Israel were not meant to have Kings, because Yahweh, God was to be their ruler.
- And then they ask God for a King like all the nations around them
- God listens to their requests and is gracious to allow it to happen… but then surprise, surprise, the Kings of God’s people end up like other nations Kings.
- They thirst for power, they are violent, greedy, making alliances with other nations rather than trusting God.
- So its all a bit of a mess, and yet there is also this theme that a true King will one day emerge who will fulfil the expectations of Yahweh!
- You with me? It’s getting good right? So the names of this child…
Wonderful Counselor speaks to wisdom and maybe they would have reflected on King Solomon, who had been so wise, and yet later in life threw it all away
- Mighty God, is sometimes translated as Divine Warrior. Their King was meant to trust God for victory and yet so often they make alliances with other nations for protection.
- Everlasting Father speaks to the king’s concern for his people, and yet what they had with their Kings was rulers who enriched themselves and oppressed the poor.
- Finally, Prince of Peace and we are going to get to that particularly in the next Isaiah passage, but the Davidic Kings of Judah were constantly at war with the surrounding nations.
So I don’t know if you have ever wondered why Matthew’s gospel starts with the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David…
- But you do now! Here comes a King to sit on the throne of David whose Kingdom will know no end.
- And I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered why there is so much talk about the Kingdom of God in the gospels… but you do now.
- This is about a child who will reign rightfully, justly and with righteousness for all the nations…
A King who will be Wonderful Counselor – think sermon on the Mount and the wisdom and truth of Jesus teaching
- A King who will be Mighty God – fully divine and in perfect unity and trust with his Father
- A King who will be Everlasting Father – think of Jesus compassion and kindness.
- A King who would be Prince of Peace – think Jesus telling Peter to put away the sword and forgiving his enemies.
One of my favourite scenes in all of the Gospels is in Matthew 23:37.
- Now, listen! Listen to the voice Jesus uses. He is not far from being betrayed and crucified…
- And he says something very profound…
- 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
- Do you hear the voice of God’s people’s true King?
- I do. Here is her King, this is what it looks like. He longs to gather them and care for them like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…
Anyhow, we must move on to the last child of Isaiah 7-12.
Time waits for no one! The third promise of a child is in Isaiah 11 – a shoot from Jesse.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
Alright, final child, a shoot that will come from the stump of Jesse (King David’s Father) who will be full of the Spirit of the Lord!
- So what defines this child who again is a promise of hope and restoration for the people of God? What do you see?
- Well the thing that strikes me apart from all of the Spirit language is the picture of shalom, of peace, of God putting everything back together again!
- Again he is clearly a ruler, verse 4, with justice he will give decisions for the poor…
- But there is this beautiful metaphor or picture painted of animals that are natural enemies, coming together in peace. It says a little child will lead them.
- It’s a Hebrew picture of their word for peace which is shalom.
- And shalom is not just the state of things when there is an absence of war… it is also about a state of affairs where things are whole and at peace.
And interestingly, verse 10, it promises that the nations will rally to him.
- This root of Jesse… so this one in the line of the Davidic Kings, will rule for all people
- It is a picture of fulfilment of the promise to Abraham that all nations will be blessed through the family of God.
- So again, the natural enemies, the different tribes and tongues of the world will come together under this King.
Now as we come to Jesus there are obviously a few major things to note.
- We’ve already spoken about Jesus genealogy being from the line of Jesse and David
- We think of Jesus at his baptism and the Spirit of God descending on him and a voice from heaven saying “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”
- He stands on the side of the poor, saying the Kingdom of God belongs to these
- He says blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.
- He loves his enemies and forgives those who crucify him
- And of course he extends his invitation to discipleship to everyone saying to his closest followers “Go make disciples of all nations, baptising them, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
- I could go on and on and on…
Well what do we do with all of this?
- I apologies for rushing through so much of the material. Clearly we could have spent a week on each of the coming child prophecies.
- Hopefully it is faith building for you. I mean it is all quite remarkable how Jesus fulfils the prophecies of Isaiah.
- As it says in John 15; “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.”
- This is a remarkable book, particularly looking back at it, through the lens of fulfilment in Jesus.
But I wonder as we close, if we might just come back to this idea of covenantal faithfulness.
- And again if you think of the Song of the Vineyard, we are a planting of God designed to produce good fruit.
- And what we see in today’s passages is that in Jesus we find the fulfilment of what the true vineyard should look like – a shoot of Jesse that will bear good fruit.
- And it is our role as children of God, grafted in because of Jesus, to reflect and establish our King and continue the good fruit. We saw that in John 15 last week.
And maybe I’ll leave you with this. In light of the child who establishes peace
- And in Matthew 5 Jesus says “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God…”
- My question is how are you, how are we, working towards shalom… because that’s good fruit.
- The Son of God who brings a Kingdom of peace calls his children to be peacemakers in a world constantly at war with each other.
A couple of times this week, I’ve been tempted to go to war with some people… haha…
- Some pretty vitriolic emails and some issues with some of the neighbours around this church.
- And I don’t think peacemaking never means truth telling…
- But that’s not what I was tempted to do… my instinct to is to rip people apart with my dazzling intellect and wit! Haha..
- But no… we follow a different King don’t we? And I’m not saying I always get this right…
- But I am trying to be a child of the Son of God.
- He is a remarkable sign of divine intervention, who reigns as King and brings peace…
- So there you go… you know what to do… let’s worship and let’s live like King Jesus.