"FOR THOU HAST BROKEN THE YOKE OF HIS BURDEN, AND… THE ROD OF HIS OPPRESSOR, AS IN THE DAY OF MIDIAN." Isa . 9:4
The setting is a dark one in the land of Israel, seven hundred years before the birth of Christ. The king of Syria and the king of Israel have joined in an unholy alliance to invade Judah and Jerusalem. The civil war between the ten northern tribes of Israel and the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin is reaching a most ominous peak. The very line and seed of King David is threatened. Yes, the very line that was promised to produce a Savior and the Messiah.
King Ahab, wickedest of all the kings of Judah, fears for his life because the word was out that he was to be killed and a puppet king placed upon the throne of David. The prophet Isaiah describes the chilling conditions of the land of Judah: violence, murder, sacrifices to pagan gods, sexual perversion, and witchcraft! Sounds familiar somehow, doesn't it? Everything that King Ahab did was going wrong. The Syrians and Israelites were invading from the north. The Philistines invaded from the west. The Edomites and Egyptians invaded from the south, and instead of turning to God, King Ahab turned to the king of Assyria who took many of the treasures of the Temple of God and gave no help.
Things haven't been going real well for America lately, either: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that seem to have no end in sight, with threats of war from Iran and North Korea. The specter of terrorism fills hearts with fear and dread. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where an estimated 185 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the Gulf, making it the worst environmental disaster in U.S., if not world, history. The national unemployment rate hovering around 9.6 percent — with some states at double digit unemployment levels. Millions of homes foreclosed, and an economy that simply won't come out of what is being called the "Great Recession" — WHY?
The answer is the same as in Ahab's day. The king is calling on the wrong god. "The Church has not wept between the porch and the altar," and the people of the land have not set their hearts to wholly follow the Lord. So, are we finished? Are we through? Is God's judgment here? Let's look at the Scriptures. What did God do in Isaiah's day?
- "The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [meaning ‘God with us']." Isa. 7:14
God is saying to His people, even to King Ahab, "Even though you are wicked, even though you have called upon pagan gods, even though I should destroy you, I HAVE A PLAN!" Oh, praise the Lord! Even though kings and world leaders fail, even though it seems all is lost, even though hope seems gone — GOD'S GREAT PLAN OF THE AGES SHALL SUCCEED. IT SHALL COME TO PASS! The kingly line of David was not broken. Judah, though severely punished, was spared. Even King Ahab was spared — all because God had a plan! That plan is further revealed by the prophet in chapter nine:
- "For unto us a child is born…." Isa. 9:6
Glory to God! That plan became gloriously apparent as a Jewish virgin gave birth in the little town of Bethlehem.
- "Unto us a son is given…." Isa. 9:6
That plan unfolded through the growing up years in Nazareth and as he reached manhood and went all the way to the cross:
- "And the government shall be upon his shoulder…." Isa. 9:6
His righteous government and Kingdom have been growing and expanding now for nearly two thousand years. You are a part and I am a part — TBN is a part! Yes, God has a special plan just for you, just for me and just for TBN! Praise God, our "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…" (Isa. 9:6) will bring it to pass for us, too! Even though we have failed Him many times, even though we have blown it again and again, even though we are tempted to give up all hope — glory be to God — HE HAS A PLAN! And though demons and devils rant and rage against it, HE WILL BRING IT TO PASS! Praise the Lord! The promise is secured as the prophet concludes:
- "Of the increase of his government and peace there continued from cover… shall be no end…from henceforth even forever." Isa. 9:7
And just to make sure there is no doubt about it, God's final word on the subject is:
- "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isa. 9:7
Beloved partners, Jan and I know that every one of you is facing impossible situations — we all are! In the natural, it would seem that all is lost — all hope gone. But we have been on the banks of the "Red Sea" before, have we not? We have seen the hand of our God part the waters, move the mountains and calm the troubled seas!
- Yes, God's great plan for your TBN is now apparent — it is a MIGHTY VOICE crying in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:3).
Dear partner, Jan and I are your prayer partners, agreeing with you for God's great plan for you and your loved ones. It will come to pass just as Israel's did — just as TBN's has! You angel partners are already a part of TBN's great plan.
So, for the 37th time, Jan and I wish you and yours the most blessed Christmas season ever — we'll be looking for your letter. We love you more with each passing year.
Celebrating the Light of the world from Trinity Christian City International— TBN's headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA!