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 shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For 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. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For 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. 7 Of 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.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes that, “Isaiah 9:1–7 records the famous prophecy of the coming child who would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This messianic hope arose because the Lord promised to raise up a son of David who would rule forever and because the failures of David’s line made the people hope for someone to restore that line (2 Sam. 7; Amos 9:11–15). Hezekiah was a good king, but he was not the Messiah. However, during his reign God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, telling the king that after the Assyrian invasion of Judah during Hezekiah’s lifetime, a new king would sit on the throne in Jerusalem.”
Since Isaiah 9:2-7 is such a magnificent oracle, we are going to examine each verse in detail. Today, we examine Isaiah 9:3. My hope is that you will truly be blessed by this study.
Isaiah 9:3 says, “You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.”
The personal pronouns in this verse merit attention. The word ”you”, which is singular, refers to the LORD: Yahweh. The word “they”, which is plural, refers to the Nation of Israel.
Isaiah credits the LORD with the increase of Israel. Yahweh is the source of Israel becoming great again. He will do so by sending the Messiah who will lead the people out of spiritual darkness and into the light of the Gospel.
Yahweh is also responsible for the increase of Israel’s joy. The word increase means to exalt and to make great. What is exalted and made great in Israel is joy. Joy is an inner attitude of gladness and delight. Joy even transcends unfavorable circumstances because the source of joy is the LORD and not one’s circumstances.
Because of the LORD’s work, the people rejoiced before Him in worship. Rejoicing is the behavior which corresponds to the inner attitude of joy. It is the outward expression of gladness and a merry heart.
Isaiah likens Israel’s joy in the promised Messiah to be like the joy during the annual harvest. As the crops are being gathered from the fields, the people are rejoicing for another year of sustaining food from the gracious hand of God.
The light of the Messiah will increase Israel’s joy like the joy at harvest-time. “Joy” is another emphasis of the prophet Isaiah. Joy is mentioned more than two dozen times in his prophetical book. This joy will be a supernatural work of God much like the nation’s deliverance when Gideon defeated Midian (Judges 7:1–24; Isaiah 10:26).
Do you possess an inner joy from the LORD? Is your inner gladness and contentment displayed by your outward behavior? May it be so today. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
Soli deo Gloria!