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)
Today, we examine Isaiah 9:4-5 which says, “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.”
These two verses are filled with images of military instruments of oppression, battle and war. A yoke is an instrument of oppression and burden. A staff may refer to not only a rod, but also an arrow or lance. A rod is a club. The phrase “boot of the trampling warrior” refers to an army on the move. Battle tumult is a riotous, discordant sound that signals chaos and frenzy caused by an approaching army. Garments rolled in blood symbolizes those killed in battle.
All these instruments and images associated with political and military war between nations will cease. The LORD would eventually free national Israel from its bondage to Assyria, Babylon, and every foreign power to follow which would seek to oppress her.
It was passages such as this which would prompt the Jews during the time of Christ to perceive that the Messiah’s deliverance of Israel was purely political and military. They failed to understand the spiritual implications of Messiah’s coming were far greater and more important.
Puritan Matthew Henry writes, “The design of the gospel, and the grace of it, is to break the yoke of sin and Satan, to remove the burden of guilt and corruption, and to free us from the rod of those oppressors, that we might be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Let us not lose sight of the fact that Jesus Christ’s coming was to free sinners from not only the penalty of sin, and the power of sin, but also from the very presence of sin. This is the ultimate victory by our glorious and victorious Savior.
Soli deo Gloria!