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Isaiah 9:2-7 (NIV)
2 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. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
While Israel awaits freedom and a new king, Isaiah reminds them of the Midians who had once ruled over Israel! On the day that Midian was defeated, Israel rejoiced in their freedom! The new leader—this Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace—is going to bring victory and renewed peace. Now think about the things that burden you, the “yokes” that are on your shoulders. We are yoked with responsibilities for work or school, at home and in our relationships. You have a burden. Maybe a lot! Some you chose to take on, but many were probably given to you without your consent. Maybe you got sick, or a family member died, or you lost your job. The list goes on and on. Jesus asks us to put our faith in Him, trusting that He will actually carry those burdens. In return, we get a peace that is rich and beautiful, not sentimental and simplistic. A peace that gives life instead of merely tolerating it. It is a peace that values all people and their unique characteristics and seeks to live and thrive in diverse community. It is a peace that not even death can destroy. The zeal of the Lord has accomplished this. Let us pray: Holy Prince of Peace, we thank you for the zeal that you have for us. Help us to rest in the hope of the resurrection with assurance that you are far more powerful than any enemy, including death. Amen.