(Photo credit here)
S (Scripture): Isaiah 9
1 Nonetheless, those who were in distress won’t be exhausted. At an earlier time, God cursed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but later he glorified the way of the sea, the far side of the Jordan, and the Galilee of the nations.
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
3 You have made the nation great;
you have increased its joy.
They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest, as those who divide plunder rejoice.
4 As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them, the staff on their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor.
5 Because every boot of the thundering warriors,
and every garment rolled in blood will be burned, fuel for the fire.
6 A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be vast authority and endless peace
for David’s throne and for his kingdom,
establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this.
O (Observation): In Isaiah’s time, God was thought to be responsible for bringing blessings and consequences in the world. Judah was the remnant of God’s people and God was going to find a way to bring hope for them. Good news, indeed, with foreign powers closing in around them.
The hope God provides is in the form of a child who is to come. Isaiah speaks this promise for God, bringing good news to the people of God. This hope would take time to come to fulfillment, but God’s promises would indeed come true for Christians as Jesus, descendant of David, would eventually be born in Bethlehem.
A (Application): We can have quite a hard time being a people of hope. We can see political divides and social barriers all around us. And when we hear of opinions the opposite of our own, we get defensive real quick.
Why do we get so defensive? Why do we feel like we have to teach other people what to think or how to think? Instead, can’t we see a way forward that includes learning from one another, rather than forcing our opinion on another? I’m not saying we shouldn’t all have thoughts and opinions. Rather, we should continue to listen to one another and encourage discussion, rather trying to win every conversation.
My hope lies in God, bringing us peace. I lean not solely on my own understanding, but on what God has done, is doing , and will do in my life: namely, bring me grace and mercy. May I entend that to others as we engage in potentially divisive conversations.
P (Prayer): May we approach our conversations with grace and mercy this day. Amen.