War and conflict is all around us. It occurs everyday–around our world and within our hearts. The Bible says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you” (James 4:1)? There is war in our world because there is a war within every soul. It ravages nations, people, and relationships. Our only hope is in One the Bible calls “The Prince of Peace.” This passage from Isaiah explains who he is and what he has come to do.
In Isaiah, darkness can be symbolic of sin and hopelessness. We see the dark clouds approaching, and they are upon us before we know it. As our nation reels from the horrific murder of innocent little children, the clouds appear more ominous than ever. How shall we make sense of what occurred? It is God alone who can shine into the dark. This morning, we try to understand why there is hope for those who walk in darkness.
In chapter 6, Isaiah received his commission, to harden the hearts of his people, yet with hope of a tiny remnant being made holy. In chapter 7, we see the beginning of this, as he is sent by God to speak words of assurance, and an offer of faith to a king who will refuse, and will lead his people down the road to ruin. It is in this context that we find one of our dearest Christmas prophesies, which would bear fruit ultimately in the birth of none other than Jesus, a sign for our faith today and forever.
Living among a corrupt people, the prophet Isaiah’s job was to point out their sin and call them to repentance. But one day, God revealed himself in a unique way to the prophet, causing him to realize his own sin. At the beginning of this Advent season, we’re reminded of our sin and our great need for a Savior.