We are very familiar with the historical characters around the manger (the shepherds, the wise men, etc.) But some may not be as familiar with the backstory of Christmas. In this background, one of the most uplifting passages predicting Christ’s arrival came at one of the lowest points in Israel’s history. This ancient prophecy of the first Christmas tells us that we can have hope in God’s work even when our situation looks grim.
Christmas reminds us that though our world is spinning out of control, the world is still safely under God’s control.
The Nation of Israel in 739 B.C.
- The nation was in complete rebellion against God (1:2-4)
- The economy was in the tank (1:7)
- Religious observance had become meaningless (1:11, 15)
- They were not:
- Seeking Justice
- Defending the oppressed
- Standing up for the orphans
- Caring for the widows
- Their disobedience led to God’s discipline (2 Kings 17:5-6)
Isaiah promised a new light would dawn with a very special person (Isa. 9:2-7)
- Wonderful counselor
- Mighty God
- Everlasting Father
- Prince of Peace
Jesus showed up to
- A defeated nation
- A heavily taxed people
- A broken religious system
What if it were true that God not only knows you but gets you?
Jesus knows you
Jesus gets you
Jesus loves you
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Rusty directs our attention today to the background of Christmas. He focuses on one of the most uplifting passages predicting Christ’s arrival. This ancient prophecy of the first Christmas tells us we can have hope in God’s work even when our situation appears grim. In what area or areas of your life do you most need hope this Christmas?
- Israel in 739 BC was in a bad place: 1) The nation rebelled against God. (1:2-4) 2) Their economy was in the tank. (1:7) 3) Religious observance had become meaningless. (1:11, 15) 4) They were not: seeking justice, defending the oppressed, standing up for the orphans, or caring for the widows. What parallels can you find in our present world?
- Because of these things, God was about to discipline the nation of Israel. (2 Kings 17:5-6) Based on the behavior of the people, why was discipline appropriate?
- However, despite God’s discipline Isaiah promised a new light would dawn with a very special person. He would be the nations: 1) Wonderful Counselor, 2) Mighty God, 3) Everlasting Father, and 4) Prince of Peace. Which of these titles speaks most to you? Why?
- God showed up to rescue: 1) A defeated nation, 2) A heavily taxed people, and 3) A broken religious system. Which of these relates most to the needs you observe in our world this Christmas?
- In today’s message Pastor Rusty asks, “What if it were true that God not only knows you but gets you?” How can understanding this truth about God change our perspective and give us hope this Christmas?
LIVE IT OUT
- Reflect on the fact that Jesus knows you, then thank God that He does.
- Reflect on the fact that Jesus gets you, then thank God that He does.
- Reflect on the fact that Jesus loves you, then thank God that He does.
- Make a list of three ways to communicate to others the hope of Jesus: knowing us, getting us, and loving us this Christmas. Jot down the name of at least one person you will pray for and communicate hope to this Christmas.