In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. 2 When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with[a] Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz[b] and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
3 And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub[c] your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 4 And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it[d] for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” 7 thus says the Lord God:
“‘It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you[e] are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.’”
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your[f] God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he[g] said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.[h] 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”
In Isaiah Ch 9 he is given a vision to encourage the people of Judah who are faced with a coming invasion from Assyria or with oppressive allegiances. God gives them hope in the form of a Child who will be an eternal divine King. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
Whenever we make plans there is always uncertainty, there is always risk. The reason for that is we are unable to guarantee that those plans will be fulfilled. Our plans, though made with hope, are always laced with uncertainty and risk. This sets a perfect contrast for us when we think about God’s plans. His plans are guaranteed.
In Isaiah 52 and 53, through Isaiah the Prophet, 700 years before Jesus set foot on soil, before he wore clothes, bruised his skin and experienced humanity, we see God stating what his future plans are. The plan is this – His servant – the suffering servant – the one who we see would be afflicted, despised, pierced and crushed – shall vs 13 of chapter 52 ‘act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up and shall be exalted’. God plans to exalt the Servant after his suffering.
This we see fulfilled in Jesus Christ who comes as the Suffering Servant.
As we celebrate Easter today – celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we do we remember the plan of God for both the suffering and exaltation of Jesus Christ.
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;[b]
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle[c] many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?[d]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected[e] by men,
a man of sorrows[f] and acquainted with[g] grief;[h]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[i]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[j]
when his soul makes[k] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[l] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[m]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[n]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
How do you hope in seasons of sorrow? We see today two particular things Christians hope in doing seasons when the storms of life rage. Firstly, We hope in the character of Christ. Christ is sovereign and all powerful, he is in control, and he knows exactly how much sorrow we can bear. He promises not to burden us with something which will extinguish our faith. Secondly, we hope in the true healing of our heartbreak. Time may well dull the pain of sorrow but it never fully heals it, we look forward to the time when the Lord God will truly heal our heartbreak as we finish the journey and go to be with Him in heaven. Hope in the character of Christ true healing is what can help us journey with Jesus through hard times. We may well even be surprised by worship in the hardest of times.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Long before Jesus was born, God promised redemption. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise, and he came as a Servant to uphold us, no matter what we’ve done or who we are. Jesus will never remove his grace from us.