PFOA : Isaiah 9:2-7

Handel wrote the Messiah in 3 Parts, each with several scenes. Part I Scene 3 is about the Nativity and opens with a recitation of the prophecy of Isaiah:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa. 7:14 KJV).

This was initially pronounced by Isaiah to King Ahaz of Judah when the kings of Aram and Israel came up against him. Even though he did not want it, this sign was given to Ahaz as a promise of deliverance, for God will use Assyria to utterly defeat and destroy Judah’s enemies. The sign of the birth of a child was to remind Ahaz that God is with His people – “Immanuel”.

Matt. 1:23 sees this prophecy as having its ultimate fulfilment in the birth of Jesus Christ about 750 years later. Ahaz did not take much notice of the sign nor the message. The Advent season reminds us of this same sign and message – and the world still pays no attention to the reality of this sign and its message of assurance – that God is with us.

The nativity scene is described in Isaiah 9:2-7 with the “great light” that was seen by the Magi from the east and the shepherds in the fields. It then ends with the joyful chorus:

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.” (Isa. 9:6 KJV).

Think about the many names given to Him. These are descriptive of His person, character and attributes. We can understand that the world does not know Him, but His followers, who are called by His name, should know better.

Daily we make decisions, yet how often is the Wonderful Counsellor consulted? We make our choices made in the light of our limited wisdom and knowledge and then selected them to be accomplished with our finite resources, forgetting that we have an Almighty God.

So the impact of our efforts does not last. King Hezekiah did not bother to check with Isaiah about the visitors from Babylon and showed them the treasures of palace. Well, he completed his reign in peace, but just a few generations later, Judah was to suffer conquest and exile by the Babylonians (2 Kg. 20:11-21). As children of an Everlasting Father, we have eternal life, but may not have learnt to think and plan in terms of eternity. The elusive peace that the world seeks will not be found anywhere but from the Prince of Peace.

“And they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matt. 1:23). God is with us – daily, moment-by-moment, always. Furthermore, He has made it possible for us to be with Him, approaching Him without fear, as a child to his/her father, knowing that he has accepted us.

Let’s pray

- For all our missionaries who will be celebrating Christmas overseas, that though they are away from family and home, they may share the joy of the Advent with their local friends.·

- For Esther Yap who has completed her semester in the UK and will be returning on Dec 15, first to KL for Christmas with her family and then to Wycliffe Singapore to prepare for her field assignment next year.