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December 13, 2021 3:00 am
We need wisdom or advice or encouragement turned today on Truth for Life. We begin a series titled a child is born, and will hear for the prophet Isaiah directed God's people in their time of crisis and darkness for encouragement and wisdom. Alistair Begg begins with part one of a message titled wonderful, counselor invite you to turn with me to Isaiah and to chapter 9 will begin reading from the 19th verse of chapter 8 and will read through to the end of verse seven of chapter 9 when men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter should not a people inquired of their God. Why consult the dead on behalf of the living to the law and to the testimony if they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land when they are famished they will become enraged and looking upward will curse their king and their God, then they will look towards the air thinned see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into Arthur darkness.
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who wear in distress. In the past, he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles by way of the sea along the Jordan, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarge the nation and increase their joy. They rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest as men rejoice when dividing the plunder for as in the day of Midian's defeat.
You have shattered the yoke the burdens them the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor for every warriors boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destine for burning will be fuel for the fire for to us a child is born to Isaac's son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Thanks be to God for his word gracious spirit of God come now and be our teacher so that we might understand what the Bible says that we might meet the one of whom the Bible speaks that all of the darkness of our sin and distress may be banished in the joy and light of that which Jesus brings for his namesake. We pray, amen. It's not uncommon in five. It is increasingly common to overhear someone saying I am seeing a counselor for that, or I am in counseling.
I'm old enough to remember when such a statement would not of been offered willingly.
Rather, it would have been seen as such an admission of need that you wouldn't want to volunteer it either on your resume or when you were engaged in an interview, and as the need for counselors increases and as the number of counselors increase is actually possible that we do a disservice to those whose needs are deepest insofar as we recognize that each of us at some point in our lives will need to go to someone else to somewhere else in order to find wisdom help and encouragement, but such genuine cries for need such necessary intervention may very easily be obscured by a preoccupation with matters which are just particularly trivial. I was thinking about it. Just this week as I listen to somebody try to speak to a living person by means of a telephone as clear as I was in the company of the individual that they were giving answers to electronic questions and were being responded to by electronic something I do stop myself from saying when the phone was finally disengaged. You know you should probably see a counselor for that because it is so unbelievably distressing.
The complexities of modern life, both in public and in private review very quickly to us are need of help and a society becomes increasingly fractured as relationships more and more disengaged. It is not surprising that Berman, a professor of law at Harvard rights.
Our whole society seems to be facing the possibility of a kind of nervous breakdown and when you listen to a 24-hour bombardment of news when you read your newspapers when all of those little things pop up on your computer screen you can understand why it is that someone as articulate and intelligent as Berman would make that kind of observation, but we then might be tempted to believe that this is unique to our circumstances that it is because we live in the cyberspace generation. It is an account of the fact that life is becoming increasingly complex for us and we are distinctly unable to handle the affairs of time and then of course we could just read history books and be corrected and we can certainly read our Bibles and find that in every generation. Men and women were in need of a counselor. Indeed, in every generation. Men and women are in need of a wonderful counselor Isaiah at rights to a people eight centuries before the Lord Jesus Christ who without newspapers would've been aware on routine basis that they were confronted by war and by distress and by darkness. Indeed, they were aware at least some of them that this kind of darkness which sought to engulf them from outside was more than matched by the darkness which sought to undo them from insight and if we doubt my assertion, then we need only to turn to the Bible ourselves and I want just to point this out to you by referencing one or two early pieces of Isaiah's prophecy, and the first of all, in Isaiah chapter 3 and in verses six and seven we have an indication of a circumstance with which we are not unfamiliar in our own generation, namely a crisis in leadership and somewhat cynically the individual says a man who sees one of his brothers at his father's home and say you have a cloak you be our leader to take charge of this heap of ruins. In other words, the need for leadership is so deep that the fact that someone has a nice coat that they could wear to walk out into the community is used as a basis for suggesting that this person is perhaps the ideal individual to become the mayor or the governor, the crisis of leadership over a page to your left, in chapter 2, and in verse seven, eight centuries before Christ materialism was alive and well. You look at what we read their land is full to seven of silver and gold, there is no end to their treasures, their land is full of horses.
It is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols, and they bow down to the work of their hands in the same thing is reinforced when you get to chapter 5, verse eight.
Woe to you who at house to house enjoying field to field tillhis left and you live alone in the land. Surely the great houses will become desolate find mentions left without occupants raising is repeated throughout history.
Don't you you live in Cleveland and people say, but if you'd been here at the turn-of-the-century, you would realize what an Amazing Ave., Superior really was. It was well named a superior Avenue don't look particularly superior in the moment. Even though some are endeavoring to refashion now those great mentions of crumbled. They are now desolate eight centuries before Jesus. The issues of wine and women and song and superstition were the issues of the day and he pointed out to you. Chapter 5 again in verse 11 woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, they don't care if it is 5 o'clock somewhere, or if it doesn't stay out late at night so they're inflamed with wine. They have harps and liars of their banquets. Tambourines and flutes and wife, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord no respect for the work of his hands.
86 proof anesthetic crutches prop you to the top while the smiles are all synthetic in the ulcers never stop women from chapter 3 verse 60. The Lord says the women of Zion are haughty or snobby, walking along with outstretched snacks flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps with ornaments jingling on their ankles had a kind of contemporary ring to was this person just a Beechwood Mall. What is this I love it when people tell me you know the Bible is such an ancient book. It is irrelevant.
I don't know why anyone would ever read it. The person who says that is never read the Bible, wine, women and superstitions chapter 2 and verse six.
Six. Be there full of superstitions from the East. They practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans and you will have noticed. I think in our reading, which began in verse 19 of chapter 8 that that was a very emphasis of the prophet. At that point, when men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists whisper and monitor should not a people inquired of their God. Why would you consult the dead on behalf of the living. That's 800 years before Jesus.
Now we are 2000 years beyond Jesus and is not unusual instruments quite routine to have some individual on either morning television, which I see once in a blue moon or talk shows with Tracy infrequently describing and and and clamoring for words of insight and wisdom and counsel that come from beyond the grave. What we learn nothing in almost 3000 years is great advanced generation. This great man on the moon the country that we really just the same as they were in need of a wonderful counselor. Yes, absolutely. So you see the basic problem now as then, was not the absence of information.
It was not that there was no counsel to whom men and women might respond. It wasn't that there was an absence of truth to which they make shooting their years.
The problem was that they chose to listen to lies instead.
In fact, just verse 20 of chapter 8 the province as to the law and to the testimony, it always demands the addition of two words, we go to the law of the testimony we go. In other words, were going to pay attention to what God has revealed that he says but if they do not speak according to this word to this law on this testimony, they have no light of dawn, the light one dawn on us almost as if the person is brought up in the realm of the truth that brought up under the instruction of God's word. Their parents have brought them up within the framework of the Shema hero, Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and your mind and your strength, and so on. And that was their upbringing and they knew the blessing was there.
Blessed is the one that turned from blessing.
Blessed is the man who walk not in the counsel of the wicked, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, that you may be here today and that actually fix your picture and actually making another sortie is aware around the truth of God in the Bible and and and Christmas my passing throwaway line puts a finger right somewhere deep inside of you because this describes you confronted by this truth with frequency but no dawning of it in your high still dark in there. Still confused in their still empty and there we say this is a sorry picture the end of chapter 8. Is it not well yes it is without any question at all. The Bible never disguises how dark things are when God is left out. It states it very very clearly and just the point where we might anticipate that God would leave these people in their darkness. After all, they had chosen to reject them. They had been rebellious in their hearts.
Just when we might expect that he says well is just close the book on you folks. I'm tired of you and want nothing more to do with you I you might, I'm just consigning you know it's a dark at that point we read nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who wear and distress. Suddenly a light has shown across the darkness. Suddenly, just when it appears as though the wintertime of the soul is about to come in all of its crushing sadness. The light shines and it is a dazzling light and into the soaring predicament of these wonders who are distressed and hungry. 821 rolling through the land famished looking upward to leadership and crying out in rebellion. Looking down towards the earth and consumed with fearful gloom just in that moment, God comes I have something to tell you this morning.
If you read the Bible you will find this story repeated again and again and again invited comes from the very beginning of the Bible when Adam and Eve turned their backs on God and decide to go their own way. At the very point where God might've said have your own way, what is he do. He comes looking for them in the garden where I he comes and discovers them and their nakedness and what is he do, he provides clothing for them to cover their naked.
He is the God of grace who comes into the darkness and emptiness of the expedience of men and women to bring his light and his joy and his peace story which is so wonderfully conveyed to us in the celebration of lights that we enjoy this time of year. You will notice the chapter 9 opens with a reference to the past in the past in the past. He that is, God humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.
What is that mean all is a reference to the fact that God humbled his people by means of the invading armies of Assyria. That's really all you need to know for the time being.
In the past he has done this and then you will notice in the future is going to do something else. In the past he has humbled his people by the invading armies and in the future is going to help his people and the same context in which the huddling came the same geographical area will be the geographical area in which they help come and exoticism of your minds to work and it is one of the points in the study of the Bible that we're able to say to each other. This is the time that we say by reading our Bibles backwards. We may understand the best and because you've already thought of this but are not sure where to find it, let me tell you that what you're thinking of is Matthew chapter 4 and verse 12 which reads as follows. When Jesus hair that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun as Zebulun is a wino Zebulun course you do. We just read it.
Isaiah 9 Zebulun and Naphtali.
That's that other place. Yes, it is always Jesus during an area of Zebulun and Naphtali. He was actually taking care of Isaiah chapter 9 verse 1B and five. That's exactly what Matthew tells us he was fulfilling what was said through the prophet Isaiah, land of Zebulun and land of NAFTA lead the way to the sea along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people living in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
So when you read Isaiah chapter 9 verse one and say what in the world is that mean the answer is provided for us in Matthew chapter 4, and we need be in any doubt a tall is fantastic.
It's helpful for those of you are thinking already detected the fact that Isaiah writes about this. Using tenses that are in the past that the appearance of this light is already, but we just read Matthew four and we discovered from Matthew that the appearing of this light in all of his fullness is in the arrival of Jesus, but were 800 years before Jesus. So why is Isaiah writing about is if it already happened. Answer because it was so vivid, so clear and so certain in his mind that he could use the prophetic perfect in order to make clear exactly what was going to take place.
That's why Peter when he writes about the prophet said the that the prophets themselves. What is it were standing on tiptoe, looking to see the fulfillment of the things that they had written.
Isaiah was convinced enough of the reality of this to write as he did, but he never lived to see the fruition of any never love to see the fulfillment of nevertheless, in Isaiah's mind that which he describes he describes as having already taken place. The people walking in darkness have passed ends seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Now how does this come about, how is darkness replaced by light always wore replaced by peace. How is distress replaced by joy. Those irrelevant questions I think you would agree. You can get a conversation going on. Most of those questions and any in any decent spot where people are hanging around for any length of time at all. You think you can take your depression and replace it with joy. I don't know getting it is possible to have peace in our world. Well, we can discuss that and so on will notice the answer.
The use of verse three you have enlarge the nation is referring to God. This is what God has done and this is very very important lies at the heart of this prophecy.
Who is it that is caused all this to take place.
Answer God who is the source of light, and in whose light alone. Men and women may see light. That of course is Alastair Bragg reminding us in this increasingly fractured and disengaged world. We need God to shine his light into our darkness. Listening to Truth for Life with Alastair Bragg if you'd like to know more about how God can turn your distress and peace. Visit the learn more page on our website. There you will find two videos that help you gain a better understanding of today's lesson one video shows Alastair explaining the gospel. The other is an animated presentation about God's plan of salvation called the story you can watch one or both of the videos visit email@example.com/learn more now if you listen to Truth for Life regularly. You have heard me mention the book. Spurgeon on the power of Scripture. This is a collection of seven sermons preached by 19th century pastor Charles Spurgeon. The book was compiled so that we can draw from Spurgeon's teaching to grow in our confidence in the truth of God's word.
Charles Spurgeon once compared the Bible to a lion in the cage he said doesn't need to be defended. Just need to let it out of the cage and it will defend itself in this book of seven of Spurgeon's sermons. He unpacks the Scripture in all of its power were only to be offering Spurgeon on the power of Scripture a few more days, so be sure to connect with the soon to get your copy. It's yours by request. When you donate to truthfully give online it Truth for Life.org/donate call us at 888-588-7884 by Bob Lapine. Thanks for listening tomorrow morning. Learn about the amazing things that happened when God shines his light into darkness.
The Bible teaching of Alastair Bragg is furnished by truth or lying where the learning is reliving