Isaiah 9:1-21; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10; Psalms 56:1-9; Proverbs 15:29-30
OT: “Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. For you have shattered their oppressive yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as you did on the day of Midian. For every trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war will be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:1-7 CSB)
In the midst of the dilapidated spiritual state of Israel and Judah, God allowed Isaiah to see beyond the current time to a time to come. The northern nation of Israel, which would soon be conquered by Assyria and carried off into exile, would one day see a great light. The land of darkness would eventually experience the dawn of a new and joyous day. The oppressive yoke of their captors would be shattered and replaced with rejoicing.
In Isaiah’s vision, he saw a child that was born and a Son that was given. The Son would be given from above and would be born into humanity. That child would be of the lineage of King David and would eventually reign as King over His Kingdom. That Son would not just be a mere human being, but would be God Himself – the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace. All authority on heaven and earth would rest on His shoulders and his reign of righteousness and justice would never end.
That prophecy of Isaiah had an initial fulfillment, but the ultimate fulfillment has not yet occurred. The initial fulfillment occurred at Christ’s first coming. Jesus Christ, the Son of God was given by God to humanity and was born as a human child. Jesus grew up and began His ministry in Galilee. He brought light to those who dwelt in darkness and broke the oppressive yoke of sin and shattered the rod and staff of the devil. However, Jesus did not establish His physical and eternal kingdom of righteousness and justice. The oppressor still oppresses. Unrighteousness and injustice are still very prevalent in the world. Isaiah’s vision has not yet been fully fulfilled. The ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy will occur at Christ’s second coming, when Satan, sin and death are destroyed forever, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and Christ, all is made new and Christ establishes His eternal earthly rule in the New Jerusalem.
Now, in this age of history, we live in the middle between the already and the not yet. When we come to faith in Christ, we are transferred into a spiritual kingdom that is established in peoples hearts that will one day be established on earth and rule over all. We live in the reality of what has already happened and faithfully hope steadfastly in what is yet to come. Isaiah’s prophecy will be fully fulfilled. It is only a matter of time.
NT: “Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 CSB)
Paul, just like us, lived between the already and the not yet. Because of what Christ accomplished during His first coming, Paul was dead to sin and living in new resurrection life to Christ. The devil was a defeated foe and had no authority or power over Paul as He abided in Christ. However, Satan was still allowed, at some level, to torment Paul so that Paul would remain humble and not allow his heart to be lifted up in pride. Satan is a defeated foe, but as he is the father of lies, he refuses to acknowledge that truth – so he still wages war on blood-bought believers everyday, attempting to wear them down and pressure them out of faith and into fear, doubt and dismay. Though we live in a world that is still ravaged by sin and ruled by the devil, as we abide in Christ and remain in faith, we can experience the “not yet kingdom to come” in the midst of our trials and tribulations. The efforts that Satan uses to destroy us can actually make us stronger and bring glory to God, if we abide in all that Christ has won for us. That is what Paul did. Did Paul enjoy being tormented by Satan? No, He didn’t. He even pleaded with God to end the suffering. The Lord’s simple response was, “My grace is sufficient for you…” That is the answer to all of the trials that we face on this side of Christ’s eternal reign. While we are alive in the middle of the already and the not yet, God’s grace that is in full supply through faith in Christ is sufficient for all that we endure – and as we embrace the hardships and boast in our weakness, Christ, through our weakness, is proven strong… to us and to the rest of the watching world.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for all that You accomplished and afforded to me during Your first coming. However, the reality of life is that my enemies have yet to be completely destroyed. Help me to bring the peace and joy of the not-yet to bear on my current situations as I rely on Your sufficient grace for everything by faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.