This dimness and darkness concept goes right into chapter 19.
Vs. 1 Funny how being invaded, conquered, and brought into captivity. Brings dimness, darkness, and anguish.
Vs. 2 Naturally after invasion and captivity it would seem one is surrounded in darkness. In Christ, the people that walk in darkness will have a great light come to them. "You may cast your shadow of darkness and death over us, but in that very shadow, a great light will shine, for our King will come! The Messiah will come out of Galilee and will bring us great joy!"
Vs. 3 The joy they feel is the kind of joy you feel after the harvest is all over. Anciently when the haying was done at the end of autumn, it was party time! We call this Thanksgiving. It was sooooo good to be done with that hard, heavy work of harvesting a good harvest, so they'd celebrate! Another way to explain this is to imagine the joy that comes when a major war has been officially declared over. Imagine the joy that came after World War II was over... It had been a long, hard battle that was won. But darkness turned to light, harvest turned to joy, and battles turned to rejoicing. And when do you divide the spoils? After the war.
Vs. 4 This verse is talking about more than just Assyria being thrown off their backs. This verse is also speaking Messianicly. Just as Judah has been freed from the bondage of Assyria, so too will the Light free us from the rod of punishment, the yoke of sin, and the weight of the bondage of the world. The Lord says "Take my yoke upon you... it's easy and light!" When we give up the yoke of sin and take up the yoke of the Savior, we gain a stronger being to carry the majority of the heavy load. That’s what I’m talking about!
Vs. 5 "I'm not go to free you through war. THIS freeing will be done by the power of the Holy Ghost!" This verse can remind us of the Second Coming and the cleansing of earth at that time.
Vs. 6 "We are going to replace all the others with Jesus Christ!"
Note that v6 it doesn't say, "The government shall be upon his shoulderS." It says the government shall be upon his shoulder... singular, not plural. Why is that? It is ONE shoulder because it is referring to the Holy Priesthood which He holds. There will be one shoulder, one government and one priesthood. This will be a priesthood government... we will be ruled by virtue of the Holy Priesthood.
We tend to give names to people and to kings. Here are a couple of examples from history. Fill in the blanks, okay? How about... Alexander the ___ (Great). Or, Ivan the ____ (Terrible).
Just as names have been given others in history, in the latter part of v6 names are given the Messiah: Jesus, the Wonderful; Jesus the Counselor; Jesus, The Wonderful Counselor; Jesus, the Mighty God; Jesus, the Everlasting Father; Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
All others who took great names and titles upon themselves eventually their governing greatness began to wane. For instance, the Roman Empire reached a certain stage and eventually fell, after which it slowly shrank down until there was nothing left. The British empire did this too. Every great empire will not last... it will eventually fall and fade away. But this is NOT the case with Christ's empire. He will actually be WORTHY of all the names and titles given Him, and HIS government will be different. Most empires establish themselves with oppression, fear, tyranny, and war... But not the King of Kings! His shall be established and then judged with justice and peace! The great central message of the following verse is that there will be a King who is Wonderful and Just!
Besides, I love the song!
Vs. 8-12 They brag: 'You can knock the bricks down, but we'll build with stone cedars, which are better than wood!'" In other words, "You may have knocked us down and have us beaten now, but we're not defeated yet! We'll rise from the ashes and become even greater!"
After all the poor choices we make, the rejection He receives and everything terrible in between- "His hand is stretched out still."
How patient the Lord is with us! How much love He has for us!
I read this and I feel gratitude and love for Him. And yet, I feel that I've been ungrateful, busy and small. I can see His hand stretched out to me, reminding me He is there, beckoning me to stay near Him. And I feel close to Him.
It was a sweet chapter to read today.
What did you think/learn today?