Abundant Life in Shiloah

2021 Christmas Advent Day 1: The Child

  • Main Passage: Isaiah 9:6
    • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
  • This verse is a very common one regarding Christmas; however, it is often the only verse quoted, though it is part of a much larger section of Scripture. Notice that the first word is “for,” which indicates to us that the reason for The Child being born comes before verse six.
  • The whole context begins in Isaiah 8:5. The entire passage speaks about the error of following after that which is not God. The thesis of the passage, we could say, is in Isaiah 8:6-7. This is directed toward Northern Israel (though we see the Southern portion is also affected in verse 8).
    • Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.
      • Rezin is the King of Syria
      • Remaliah’s son is Pekah, King of Israel
  • The people refused the waters of Shiloah, or Shiloh. The waters of Shiloh speak symbolically of the waters found in God alone. Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle was first set up after crossing the Jordan [Joshua 18:1]. At this point in history, that is no longer true, and a temple resides in Jerusalem; the change was due to their idolatry. The Psalms tells us that because of their idolatry, The LORD “was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men.” [Psalms 78:58-60]
    • Shiloh is also a title for Jesus, The Messiah. [Genesis 49:10]
  • The waters of Shiloh represent the living rivers or fountains of water found in Jesus Christ. Israel had forsaken the sweet and peaceful waters of their God for the dirty rivers of Syria, Assyria, and Egypt. Psalms says The LORD our Shepherd, “leadeth me beside the still waters.” [Psalm 23:2] They had forsaken the path’s of The LORD, which “drop fatness.” [Psalms 65:11] Jeremiah, speaking later in history, shows us that Judah as a whole did not heed The LORD’s warnings through Isaiah, and that they had yet again “forsaken The LORD thy God.” [Jeremiah 2:17]
    • For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water…And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?” [Jeremiah 2:13; 18]
  • Israel had forsaken the one with whom “is the fountain of life” [Psalms 36:9] and who promises those availing themselves of His glorious presence, they will be made to “drink of the river of [His] pleasures.” [Psalms 36:8] Instead of the fresh, revitalizing, peaceful waters found in fellowship with God, they chosen the Sihor, the dirty black river residing in Egypt; or worse yet the great Euphrates of Assyria, beneath whose dark waters lie “four angels…which were prepared for an [certain] hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” [Revelation 9:14-15]
  • Israel had forsaken God by not following Him, by not drinking of Him, and finding all of their satisfaction in Him. Because of this and their persistence in this, God said “they shall be driven to darkness.” [Isaiah 8:22]
  • But they would not be left in that darkness, for “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” [Isaiah 9:2] Those in the region near Naphtali and Zebulun would see A Great Light. This is the area of Capernaum, the very city where Jesus spent much of His time.
  • Verses 3-5 speak to us of a time when The LORD will break the yoke of The Assyrain’s burden in The Day of The LORD, which “shall be with burning and fuel of fire.” [Isaiah 8:5; c.f., Isaiah 10:24-27]
  • And so we now come to verse six, and the phrase for day one: For unto us a child is born. How will these things come to pass? What will be the means of the “Great Light,” of the freedom from the enemy, of the “garments rolled in blood,” and of the “burning and fuel of fire?” What is the answer to those who are “driven to darkness” through their wayward course in life? It is The Child.

Questions For Day 1

  1. The world around us is ignorant of the life found in Jesus. Just as Israel did, the world willingly forsakes “the waters of Shiloah that go softly.” Every strategy, every self-help device, every lifestyle, every weird and perverse thing the world has tried; but they ignorantly drink from the black and evil waters of Satan instead of from Jesus, The Child that was born to us some two thousand years ago. The answer is found in Jesus, the answer is in The Child. What can I do to refocus on Jesus? What can I do to reject the waters of the world and drink beside Jesus’ waters which are still and peaceful?
    • Reflect: God says to Judah, “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? A land of darkness? Wherefor [then] say my people, we are lords; we will come no more unto thee? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” [Jeremiah 2:31-32] The Child Jesus is not dry fountain; neither is He a dark and dreary land. Let us take courage and hope in this and cling to Him, drink of Him; He offers Himself to us freely.
    • Ho, every one that thirsteth: come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live…” [Isaiah 55:1-3a]
  2. Jeremiah, although speaking in a different point in time, brings out mostly the same problem which Isaiah did: they had forsaken God and gone after other sources of wisdom, guidance, or satisfaction. Jeremiah links forsaking God, The Fountain of Living waters, with forsaking God’s guidance (verse 17). Judah, led as a sheep by God, willingly stopped following Him and went after other shepherds, other gods. How can I return to the good path, the “old paths” where I once walked behind Jesus as His sheep? Why would we/did I leave in the first place?
    • Reflect: What in my life do I partake of but it brings no satisfaction, but it leaks out joy and peace like a bucket with holes in it? Why am I still going after that? – Jesus has given me the victory today to forsake it and choose Him. Let us look unto Jesus, that Wonderful Child, that fountain of eternal life, and begin to follow Him again. He is always ready to receive us and will in no wise cast out those that come to Him.
    • Thus saith The LORD, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.” [Jeremiah 6:16]

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