The baby is God.
1But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they oare glad pwhen they divide the spoil.
4For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6For to 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.
7Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
In the midst of warnings against unfaithfulness and breaking covenant with the Lord, a promise of light comes to the faithful remnant of Judah. This is the promise of rescue and a rescuer. It was the hope of generations and, as a promise fulfilled, it is confirmation of God’s steadfast love and grace.
Chapter eight closes with the weight of discipline for God’s people. Having run after idols and immorality, they find themselves in darkness. God doesn’t leave his people in gloom, and here is a promise to bring them into glorious light. From Galilee would come this great light delivering those that lived in the land of deep darkness.
The promise of light is the promise of rescue that brings joy, freedom and peace. The faithful rejoice as their number is increased and, as party-goers after harvest, they will celebrate all that God has given them.
They will have freedom—true freedom without burden that is won for them by another. And there will be no use for the instruments of war because with this rescue comes peace. To a war torn people this means no more mothers or wives waiting to hear if their sons or husbands have survived the day; instead they are being warmed by the fire.
The promise is not only of rescue, but also of the One who will rescue the people and be their king. A child will be born, fully human and so much more. Every previous regime will be rendered obsolete as he bears the weight of his kingdom’s government.
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, the wise planner whose strategy is unparalleled.
He is the Mighty God, the God-man who owns all of the authority and power of the Creator of the universe.
He is Everlasting Father, the caring king that sees his people as children not subjects.
He is the Prince of Peace, his reign brings an end to all war, to turmoil and strife.
This Kingdom of Light will have no end and the Rescuer, the child born unto us, will establish his rule with justice and righteousness from his arrival to eternity. All of this, the rescue and the gift of the rescuer, will be done by the passion God has for his people.
As wonderful as this promise is, what is remarkable is that this rescue is not earned by faithfulness or the good behavior of the remnant. We might be inclined to read biblical promises and think we have to work for them, but in the midst of a prophetic book on covenantal relationship, this is a gift given by the zeal of the Lord.
He gives himself to rescue his children.
Today, we can hear this promise and realize that it has been kept. Immanuel, God With Us (7:14) has already come as a babe born in Bethlehem. Jesus is the light; he is the promised king. He has rescued the anguished out of darkness and his kingdom is ever expanding, until this promise is finally complete and every last ounce of gloom is burnt off by his glorious light.
Believing in Jesus, we are now in on the promise. We can live in thankful anticipation: thankful for the promise kept, the Son of God who has begun his reign as king; and anticipating completion, when darkness will be no more and we experience the unending glory of his presence forever.