Friday, August 10, 2012

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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For Sunday August 12, 2012

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HOPE IN SPITE OF DARKNESS
(Hope in the MESSIAH)
(Isaiah 9)

The Christian Hope has, throughout the history of the Church, served as motivation to make life on earth, conform more fully with the Word of GOD, just as it was presented to us by JESUS CHRIST, during HIS three-year ministry. Few Christians today look at Bethlehem as a burial place, but rather, they look at it as the “birthplace of life”, the true life, that is found only in JESUS CHRIST.
Because of JESUS’ humble birth into humanity some 2000 years ago, and because HE died for us and then rose again, we now can look forward to a bright future in the glorious presence of the ALMIGHTY FATHER in Heaven, if we choose to. There, we can live forever in a place where death doesn’t exist, and, where tears never fall.
In Isaiah Chapter 7, King Ahaz of Northern Israel abandoned his trust in the LORD, and instead, decided to put his trust in the Assyrian Kings. In Chapter 8 the prophet Isaiah warned that because of his failure to trust GOD, GOD would bring those very Assyrians against the Israelites, and they would successfully conquer Israel, and place them into captivity (this conquest happened in 722 B.C.).
Here in Chapter 9, verses 1-7, however, Isaiah prophesies of a wonderful future time that would come, beyond that forecasted period of gloom and doom. He was prophesying, of course, about the coming SAVIOR, JESUS the CHRIST, WHO would be born of a chosen woman, Mary, and, WHO would reign as David’s royal offspring forever, bringing peace and salvation to a world that was sorely in need. And so we see a theme of “darkness” and “light” developing within these pages of Scripture.
Here Isaiah is also looking beyond the first advent of CHRIST, to HIS second coming, where, instead of just preserving a small remnant, GOD would broaden and enlarge HIS chosen nation to include the Gentiles. JESUS, our redeemer, will first usher in a new Covenant, and then, HE will sign it with HIS OWN blood. All, who have walked in darkness, will able to see a great light, in the person of JESUS CHRIST, a light that will shine on all who live in a land where death once casted its dominant shadow.
Later, this GREAT CONQUEROR will return for the judgment of those who refuse to accept HIM as their SAVIOR and LORD. But those who choose to believe will experience the joy of a farmer who has reaped a great harvest, or, of that of a soldier, who has obtained a great victory. And GOD will break the bonds of sin and death, the way HE broke the army of Midian with a small band of men that were led by HIS servant, Gideon, and then the world will never have to fear the threat of war anymore (Vs. 2-4).
Verses 6-7 describes, more or less, the universal reign of the MESSIAH. Here Isaiah tells us that all the governments of the earth will rest on the shoulders of JESUS, and HE will be called “WONDERFUL COUNSELOR”, “MIGHTY GOD”, “EVERLASTING FATHER”, and “PRINCE OF PEACE”. HIS ever-expanding peaceful regime will never end. HE will rule forever with fairness and justice from David’s throne, and the passionate, faithful commitment of the Almighty GOD will guarantee this!
The contrast that presents itself in the latter part of Isaiah Chapter 9 (Vs. 8-21) shows the ruination and destruction we face when we continue to disobey and rebel against GOD. Israel’s tragic history is marred by such rebellion against the LORD, from the beginning. However, the remnant of the obedient has always been afforded the protection, grace, and mercy from GOD that was necessary to overcome those periods of HIS judgment, on those who refused to submit to HIS authority.
GOD has always intervened upon the lives of men, even though it has most often been, wittingly, or unwittingly ignored. GOD reveals HIS glory to us, from the inside out, as HE works from the hearts of men, through the lives of men. A man of GOD proves that he is such, with his own life, and not just, with words. A person of the world has eyes, but cannot see the things of GOD. He also has ears, but he cannot hear GOD’s message. He has a heart, but it is a heart for the world, and until he comes to the end of himself, he cannot perceive, nor understand the things of GOD. He has no hope, and thereby, must continue to dwell in the darkness that he has become accustomed to living in.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


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