Singing “Let there be dancing in the darkness”. How can we dance in the darkness, when so much of the world is in darkness?
“This is the enigma of Christianity, of My coming, of My life on earth. I came as the most lowly, born in a dirty stable and laid in a manger, recognized first by equally dirty shepherds, as a helpless baby – yet the Creator of the universe. As little as the picture suggests the reality lying behind this baby was that the ‘government would be on His shoulders’. I am and was and will be the ruler of the world. I came in complete weakness, lowlier than the lowest – yet to be exalted above all. This is the enigma which you must replicate – as you follow Me you must regard all others as higher than you. You must be prepared to take the full role of a servant – the most humble position – and then you will be closest to Me. And the enigma extends that despite the world’s darkness, you can dance the dance of victory in Me – because I have overcome the world and as you dance the real dance of victory, others may see and want to join you”.
King Ahaz in all his weakness, acts as a foil for the presentation of this magnificent prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-8. The enigma starts with the very place that the prophecy initially addresses. Zebulun and Naphtali, the weakest and most northern parts of Israel’s territory, which would be the first to be invaded. But would also be the first where Jesus would exercise His ministry. And note the reference to the “the land of the gentiles”. This King in the line of David’s rule would not be limited to Israel and Judah.
Notice too the strong reference to victory in vv 3-5. It is exactly in this victory that we can celebrate with dancing. As we look all around us in the world to-day, there is an all-pervading darkness. As I mused earlier, how can we dance at a time like this? Yet the dance is a dance of celebration for those souls in whom the darkness has been rolled back. That is why it is the purpose (the zeal) of God, above all else to overcome the darkness, one soul at a time. And He will accomplish it . Very important is that the verb tense of this passage is present perfect, which means it is spoken as if it has already happened, because in God’s economy it is so certain that it as if it has already happened.
Then the son is presented. In this passage the focus is on His humanity and described from a human perspective. There are 4 components:
1.Wonderful Counsellor: He will rule with unparalleled wisdom.
2.Mighty God. Not only with supernatural wisdom but superlative strength.
3.Everlasting Father. All the attributes of fatherhood would characterize His dealing with those who follow Him.
4.Prince of peace. This is slightly ambiguous because it reflects back to Ahaz’s inability to secure peace. But it is also an important feature of Messiah’s reign. His death being the means by which God is making peace between Himself and alienated mankind.
This is no doubt a goose-bump accurate, forward look down some 7 centuries at the arrival of this “Son”.
As I stand back and consider this passage, I am overwhelmed, with the reality and accuracy of the prediction, spoken in the present tense as if it has already happened. In the times of the darkness of distress or doubt, this prophecy, among many others, should be a huge reassurance to each one of us, as we compare it to the events as they did eventually unfold. Is this not the motivation for us to get out there and dance the victory dance? This is the only Way, the only victory and the darkness of the world out there can never douse the flame of hope.