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Writers learn from other writers.

One of the ways writers learn to write is by studying other writers. Isaiah’s one of my favorites because he’s a master of contrasts. He switches from dark to light with word-pictures so vivid they stick in your head for years.

The passage in Isaiah 8:17-9:3 is a perfect example. He begins with a simple declaration. “I will wait for the Lord…I will even look eagerly for Him.” Isaiah expects God to move in a decisive way, and he’s willing to wait for God’s timing.

Isaiah’s expectation is a stark contrast to that of the people, who don’t know the Scripture well enough to understand God’s ways. Instead, they consult mediums and spiritists for direction. They want man’s answers, but are quick to blame God when the way of the world doesn’t satisfy. You’ll look to the earth, Isaiah tells them, and find “distress, darkness, and the gloom of anguish.” (Isaiah 8:22)

The prophet knows a solution to the world’s woes will come to the most unlikely of places — on the far side of the Jordan, to Galilee of the Gentiles. The Jewish people were not likely to turn to the Gentiles for answers but, Isaiah urged, keep your eyes open. No more gloom. No more anguish. God’s glory on earth.

Isaiah was right.

Centuries later, we know Isaiah was correct. Jesus came right on time and exactly where Isaiah said He’d come. The people who walked in darkness saw a great light and Jesus fulfilled every promise.

Shined light in the darkness. Increased gladness. Broke the yoke of burden. Became our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, Eternal Father, our Prince of Peace. An unending reign. Offered eternal peace, justice, and righteousness.

“The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this,” Isaiah promised, and it did.

Promises of God fulfilled

If Isaiah is right, and he is, why don’t we have peace, justice, and righteousness? There’s a simple, hard answer. We’re not much different from the people of Isaiah’s time, and we still look to the world for answers. We still want Jesus plus something else.

Light in the darkness with unending joy and peace are possible but only if we’re willing to surrender the world and cling to the One who conquered sin and death.

Jesus plus nothing

This Christmas, let’s turn our eyes and our hearts to Jesus alone. How? One simple step. Take our focus off the world and place it where it belongs. On Jesus. Seek Him first. Seek Him only. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Here’s a video from Michael W. Smith featuring Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus

If country music is more your style, here’s a video from Alan Jackson singing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Thanks for sharing your time with me today! I’ve glad you stopped by. If you enjoyed this content, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest or sign up for the twice-monthly mailing list (below) to be notified about my future blog posts. Before you leave, would you mind taking a moment to pin to Pinterest and share on social media? It helps extend my digital reach in ways I can’t do myself. Thanks again! See you soon.

Want to read more? Here are links to a few other posts, including the advent series:

The Gift of God’s Love

Hope: God With Us

True Beauty Begins When Pride Ends

When the Last Days Come

Christmas’ Best Gift: Beautiful Redemption

Beginning December

On Being Beloved

Here’s an in-depth, life-changing digital Bible study to help you start the new year: