Having read Isaiah 9.2-7, the question for you then is”
Do you know what the gift of God is like and how it’s coming?
Actually, that’s not the real question we all ought to be asking ourselves, is it? Simply knowing is not quite enough.
The real question is, having read and understood Isaiah 9.2-7, now I know what this gift is like (in part), now I know how it’s coming and what it will be like, what am I going to do about it?
Am I doing something with this gift, or do I simply know about this gift?
Understanding is not a pre-requisite to receiving the gift of abundant life and eternal life.
Understanding is not a pre-requisite to receiving the gift of the forgiveness of your sins and a clean slate before God.
This gift is given to those that trust. It’s given to then be actioned.
James 1 tells us
…be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror.
(vv.22-23, emphasis added)
John 13.35 tells us (Jesus speaking) of an action we take when we accept this gift:
Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”
John 10.4 also emphasises actions we take when we take the gift offered in Isaiah 9:
…the sheep follow him because they recognise his voice.
So, yes, it is great to know what this gift is like (in part here from what Isaiah has told us) and how it came. If not before today then you do now.
But, knowing is not enough. This is where the transfer of responsibility from me to you happens: I’ve told you about it and now it’s up to you what you want to do with it.
Some will sit and listen, take in this message, sit and stew on it, but never really do anything with it. Please, don’t be that person.
Some will sit and take it all in and want to do something with it.
If that’s you (which I would say is the attitude that the Lord actually wants you to have toward His Word, hearing and doing) then what are you going to do with it?
You need to take this in, accept it, internalise it, accept and affirm that yes, to you a child was born. Yes, to you a Son was given. For you, the love of God did all of this (Isaiah 9.7).
I once heard it explained like this:
Imagine you got a letter, well, nowadays maybe a Whattsapp message, saying that a relative of yours had died. You didn’t know that he was a relative of yours, but, actually, he was. He was a relative of yours, and he was immeasurably rich and had, without you even knowing, prepared a place for you. A dwelling where you could live in the kind of prosperity that real peace brings. You would be loved and cared for in this place. You would be among much family that you never knew you even had. Imagine you get that message, but actually, you had a few plans for the next few days: someone is on their way over for dinner, you’re going to meet someone tomorrow for coffee, and then you were going to spend some much-needed time on yourself and your interests. Really then, you’ve not much time to investigate this message or what it could mean for your life.
Would you not enjoy dinner more, would you not enjoy your coffee with a friend more, would you not view yourself and your interests so differently if actually, first and foremost, you found out if this message is true or not? If, before anything else in your life, you found out if this message was true for you or simply a nice idea?
How can you go on with your daily life not knowing if this message is 100% true?
How can you go on with your daily life not knowing that for you this was all prepared, for you this is all waiting?
Here and now I am telling you that to you Jesus was born.
To you Jesus was given.
Jesus came to save sinners, which includes you.
Everything else that you might have planned or you might have lined up comes a distant second until you know for sure that to you Jesus was born.
To you Jesus was given.
Jesus brings a great light (v.2), complete and total victory over the power of sin and its consequences in your life (v.4), and a great peace (v.5).
The best thing is, He invites us, He invites you to be a part of all of this!
Once you have seen and accepted this gift, once you have known about it and received it, it will change everything that you do. It will change the way you think about everything. If there has been no perceptible change in your life from the time you heard about this gift until now, if you have never let everything you know about this gift change everything that you do and are, it’s time. Knowing all about it is not enough. Know about it, yes, but then it needs to change you. If there has been no change, it’s time.
Last week we went right back to Genesis 3 and saw that this gift was always needed and was prepared for you long before you even knew you needed it. To use our example above, the message was being prepared for you long before you received it. Now, here in Isaiah 9 we’ve seen some more details about this gift, haven’t we? We’ve seen what it brings (vv.2-5) and how it comes (vv.6-7). As we continue through this series, The Gift, we are next going to look at three different roles that this gift will play in your life when you accept it each symbolised with another gift: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
For today, if you have never let everything you know about this gift change everything that you do and are, it’s time.