What does it say?
The reign of good king Jotham is given in 2Chronicles 27. In many ways he follows the example of his father Uzziah; however, it appears that he was unable to spark the people to repent and follow the ways of Jehovah God.
The first seven verses of Isaiah 9 are a glorious Messianic prophecy. In 9:8 and continuing through 10:4 the focus returns to the historical present and the state of the northern kingdom Israel. Judgment against Israel had already begun, but Isaiah predicts that Israel would experience further judgment for her arrogance and rebellion at the hands of surrounding nations. Notice the repeated refrain in 9:12, 17, 21 and 10:4 that God’s hand is stretched out still (in judgment). In addition to Isaiah, God sends Amos and Hosea to warn Israel of judgment. Refusing those warnings, Isaiah 10:5-34 predicts Israel’s final destruction at the hand of the Assyrians.
Isaiah 11-12 is another great prophetic burst of Messiah to come. He will be the Branch out of the root (family) of Jesse (David’s father). Looking far into the future Isaiah sees a re-gathering of God’s people and a totally transformed kingdom that encompasses the nations.
What does it mean?
Interspersed among predictions of judgment are these wonderful Messianic prophecies. Isaiah 9 opens with a Messianic announcement to Zebulun and Naphtali in Galilee of the nations (9:1-2). This, of course is where Jesus was raised and began his ministry. This passage is cited in Matthew 4:15-16.
The Assyrians are used of God to bring judgment on his people (10:5). God calls them here the rod of his anger. Assyrian is a type of Antichrist in that it represents everything that is against God. Yet God is able to use even the most horrible of enemies in order to accomplish his will.
Do not lose sight of the fact that embedded in this Messianic cluster of prophecies is the very heart of God’s mission that has been working since the beginning of the story. Notice in Isaiah 11:9-16 and 12:5 that the fulfillment of God’s mission is in view with all the peoples of the world turning to him in submission and to worship and glory his name.
How will I respond?
Do I really understand the sovereignty of God? God will use even my enemies if I am not cooperative with his mission. God’s sovereignty does not negate my choice to obey or rebel. I will suffer the consequences of my decisions good or bad. What is a missional choice I will make today?