GOSH!! (how many gosh’s is that so far as we reach Day 196? Anyone? Bueller?? 🤔)
Isaiah Ch 9, how INCREDIBLE is this?
What’s the context?
The context is in the beginning of Ch 9 there is going to be the destruction of Israel (NORTHERN KINGDOM)
The Assyrians are coming in and are going to DESTROY it
Isaiah 9:1, “...In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, (so that happened, the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel) but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations…”
Another word to say it is the GALILEE OF THE GENTILES
Isaiah then goes into a poem in 9:2, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.”
You may have heard this before, right? 🤔
In Matthew’s Gospel, this is in Ch 2 Jesus comes after the Baptism by John in the Jordan River
He goes into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for 40 days, he’s fasting and all that
Where does he go from there?
He goes to the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali
This is INCREDIBLE!
Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of what Isaiah is writing here in Ch 9
Jesus goes up to the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali
Now for some GEOGRAPHY stuff
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali
Remember, those were two of the tribes that made up the northern ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel
When the Assyrians are coming in, they come in from the north
What do they do?
They take out the first two northern tribes which were NAPHTALI and ZEBULUN
They were the FIRST to be destroyed and brought into desolation
They are DESTROYED COMPLETELY
The promise is...in this very spot where everything began to be DESTROYED is the SAME SPOT where everything will be REBUILT
So Jesus goes up to the NORTH SHORE of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Land of Zebulun and the Land of Naphtali
What does Jesus begin doing?
He sees Simon and his brother, Andrew fishing and says, “Come, follow me.”
He sees James and his brother, John fishing and says, “Come, follow me.”
He assembles these four Apostles and he ultimately assembles how many Apostles?
12 APOSTLES WITH HIM THAT SYMBOLIZE THE RECONSTITUTED 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL WITH JESUS AS THE KING!!!
Those 12 men are the RECONSTITUTED ISRAEL!!
It all begins where?
It all begins in the Land of Zebulun and the Land of Naphtali
The Land beyond the Jordan
The Galilee of the Gentiles
“People who have walked in darkness have seen a great light!”
How INSANE is this?
Isaiah goes on to give this INCREDIBLE PROPHECY of what Jesus will be like
Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Of his Kingdom there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom…”
ALL THE THINGS!
Here is Jesus who is COMPLETELY FULFILLING THIS
Because how can ANY person AT ALL fulfill this?
Because one of the names of this “child to be born,” “a son to be given,” is MIGHTY GOD HIMSELF
There is NO GOD BORN TO US EXCEPT FOR JESUS CHRIST
WHO CO-EXISTED ETERNALLY WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
When Jesus took on our flesh in the INCARNATION, Jesus was BORN IN TIME
The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ the Son of God BECOMES AMONG US
WITH A DIVINE AND HUMAN NATURE
As it says here, HE IS MIGHTY GOD!!
The rest of the prophecy goes on to talk about how the people in the Northern Kingdom DID NOT TURN BACK TO THE LORD no matter what happens
What’s going to happen is that Manasseh will devour Ephraim and Ephraim will devour Manasseh and together they are against Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)
It is HORRIBLE!!
It is TERRIBLE!!
They are going to be DESTROYED
God also speaks to those people who are going to destroy them in Isaiah Ch 10
God is speaking woe to the Assyrians
This is REALLY REMARKABLE!!
Not only is God saying in Isaiah 10:5, “Ah Assyria, the rod of my anger, the staff of my fury!”
God is using Assyria, this nation, as a nation to bring JUSTICE to the Northern Kingdom of Israel
God will use them
At the same time, Assyria is NOT GOOD
They are WOED (if that’s a word...Google Docs spell check says it isn’t 🤔)
God is pronouncing WOE over them
Even though God is using them as a TOOL to bring about JUSTICE in the NORTH, they are NOT GOOD
It is REMARKABLE that the end of Isaiah Ch 10, God is already promising a REPENTANT REMNANT in Israel
God is saying, “Yes, even though all of this destruction is going to happen, there will be my people who will still be left. And my people will still be able to accomplish my plan which is to bring about worldwide blessing to the world.”
We have this great story in the Book of Tobit
Tobias has gotten married now to Sarah
They are getting blessed by his in-laws and he blesses them back
The words of Tobit and Anna (I think Fr. Mike misspoke when he said it was Tobias and Sarah), who are waiting for their son
Tobit says, “No, he’s going to be fine!”
Anna says, “No, he’s dead!”
The Biblical author wrote in Tobit 10:6, “But Tobit said to her, ‘Be still and stop worrying; he is well.’ And she answered him, ‘Be still and stop deceiving me; my child has perished.’”
That’s good writing right there
Raphael gives his exhortation
Raphael says in Tobit 12:8, “Ok you are going to pray. Prayer is really good. Yes, keep on praying. But prayer is good when accompanied by FASTING, ALMSGIVING, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Prayer can’t just be on our lips
Prayer can’t just be that we spent some time in prayer
It also must accompany FASTING...I DENY MYSELF
It also must accompany ALMSGIVING...I TAKE CARE OF THOSE AROUND ME
It also must accompany RIGHTEOUSNESS...I AM ACTUALLY DOING WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED ME TO DO
PRAYER is a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
FASTING is DENIAL OF SELF (Jesus said, “You cannot be my disciple unless you deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.” SO WE HAVE TO FAST!!)
ALMSGIVING is TAKING CARE OF THOSE AROUND US
RIGHTEOUSNESS is FOLLOWING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD AND FOLLOWING WHAT GOD HAS TAUGHT US TO DO
Tobit 12:9-10, “For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin. Those who perform deeds of charity and of righteousness will have fullness of life; but those who commit sin are the enemies of their own lives.”
IT PIERCES THE HEART!!
THOSE WHO COMMIT SIN ARE THE ENEMIES OF THEIR OWN LIVES
So pray to God and ask, “God, help us not to be the enemies of our own lives. Help us to be friends of YOU and friends of ourselves by choosing what YOU, God, want us to choose. Help us to choose YOU. Help us to choose RIGHTEOUSNESS. Help us to choose JUSTICE. Help us to choose ALMSGIVING. Help us to choose all those good things.”
Let that be the reality of your life, that you are NOT the enemy to your own life
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER