Be prepared to come face-to-face with some serious amounts of Scripture here, because there’s no possible way to just read the two Advent verses (Isaiah 9.6-7) for Day 3.
“The Lord spoke to me (Isaiah) again and said, ‘My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah. Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River – the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
‘Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!’
The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t’ live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.’
Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him… Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.’ But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven, and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Napthali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warriors and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 8.5-9.7
God promises Jesus in the very midst of complete rebellion. This Wonderful Counselor is both the God who created our hearts and minds, and the God who loves us enough to rescue us from our self-inflicted darkness. And the Mighty God strong enough to do so. He is the all-powerful, Eternal Father and the made-manifest-on-earth Prince of Peace, the only means by which we have any hope of peace at all. Immanuel is our rescuer, our liberator, our promise for tomorrow.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. “ Colossians 2. 13-15