The Magnificent in the Insignificant (Advent)


“The Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”         (Isaiah 7:14)

It’s a curious thing, but five times in chapters 7-12 of  Isaiah, there are prophecies that use the picture of a child. First, comes Isaiah’s very own son, Shear-jashub, mentioned in Isaiah 7:3.

Then, we have the child Immanuel, from that famous text in Isaiah 7:14 above.

Third is Isaiah’s newborn son, the one with the snappy name of Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

He is followed then by the enigmatic glory-child of Isaiah 9:6—the one known as Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

And finally, but by no means the least, there is the child of Isaiah 11:1, described as “the branch from Jesse’s stem.

Each prophecy speaks about the future of God’s dealings with His people and His world. That always seems to be God’s way: God’s big dreams—His very biggest—come in tiny packages.

The magnificent is encased in the insignificant. The work of salvation by which he changes everything is brought about through and in a child.

And this is described as a “sign.” And you have to read the sign carefully to keep on track with what God’s doing..

It’s how God moves in our lives too, isn’t it? – The magnificent God in the insignificant you and me!  This is how Jesus spoke about people like us:  “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.” 

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