Things were an absolute mess in Isaiah’s day. An absolute mess! His response: “Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him” (8:18). For Isaiah knew that one was coming who would be his and Israel’s salvation: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). In the mess that we find ourselves, our hope is the same as Isaiah’s, only that child, for us, has already come!
I’m reminded that the OT prophets were preachers of social justice. They preached against all who treated others wrongly, who work “to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!” (10:2). Because of these sins, and because of her idolatry and more, the Lord would send the nations against Jerusalem and destroy her (10:11).
But then, as so often happens, in the midst of all this shines such a bright light: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. . . . with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth . . . righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (11:1,4). Come, Lord Jesus, our Savior and Messiah!
O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel. -- J. M. Neale (1851)