December 4, 2020

Topic Day|Christmas Devos

Hope Doesn't Depend on Your Circumstances

Isaiah 9:2–7

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  1 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.
  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.
  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.
  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
  For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
  and the government shall be upon2 his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called3
  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  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.


[1] 9:2 Ch 9:1 in Hebrew
[2] 9:6 Or is upon
[3] 9:6 Or is called

Hope Doesn't Depend on Your Circumstances

Key Verse | Isaiah 9:6

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.

Bio | Martha Canuteson

Merry Christmas! Martha here, writing on one of my favorite passages in Scripture. I am a registered nurse, fitness instructor, wife, mom, foster mom, and chef/housekeeper/child psychologist/shuttle driver/head cheerleader/laundry service/toy repair expert/hostage negotiator for the Canuteson household. All of these roles could weigh me down if it was all up to me, but praise Jesus, who is the source of any fruit that I bear (Jeremiah 17:7-8).  

Central Truth

God has already given us—and promises to continue providing—everything we need, even the details.

Devotional | Christmas Devos

Hope is a certain human experience. We all hope, long, and pine for something. This season of advent brings a prolonged sense of hope, highlighted by the coming of our King. This passage in Isaiah expands on just...

Hope is a certain human experience. We all hope, long, and pine for something. This season of advent brings a prolonged sense of hope, highlighted by the coming of our King. This passage in Isaiah expands on just that. We have hope in Christ, who has come, and hope furthermore in His return.

When describing hope, it feels positive and reassuring. But when I think of times when I have wanted, struggled, and hoped for something, I was all too often filled with fear and a desire for control. I think we can all relate—we may hope for a family, but try to control our bodies. We hope for a title and recognition, so we work harder and perform, seeking perfection. We hope for peace, so we dig into changing all of the circumstances around us. 

Spoiler alert: it doesn't work that way. We cannot faithfully hope in the promises God gives us and meanwhile still try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. God doesn't want just half of us (Revelation 3:16).

During a recent difficult season, I came to God daily, and throughout the day I asked Him to remove my suffering. I knew I was being faithful to bring my heart's desires to Him (Matthew 7:7). But I found myself pulling for control, trying to change my circumstances by myself. I begged and prayed, feeling like Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho blowing my trumpet incessantly, but the walls wouldn't fall. After many tears, I realized that God didn't want those walls to fall. He wanted me to need Him, to come to Him in desperate hope for all He has promised.

I knew then that I didn't need my circumstances to change. I have been given every hope in the gift of Christ and the promise of His return. He is my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

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Discussion Questions

1.  What do you find yourself hoping for?

2.  Do you feel the yoke of burden or freedom in hope? 

3.  How can you make room for Christ to be your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace?


10 Comments available

Linda Green about 10 hours ago

Also, don’t remember ever seeing what Isaiah 9:5 says because it is overshadowed by the beauty of 9:6. In verse 5, God is promising that whatever has been used by the enemy for evil against us will be used as fuel for a divine fire one day. Love that picture…

Linda Green 1 day ago

Thank you, Martha, for reminding us we have an anchor of hope in Jesus that is so different than “I hope I get what I want”. Easy for me to confuse the two sometimes.

Isaiah 9:6 encourages me to see Jesus as God. I’ll never fully understand how the Godhead works until I’m in their presence, but this verse tells me Jesus is enough for my every need. Do I need a Him to give me wise counsel? Mighty actions? The tender arms of a perfect and loving Father that will never die? Peace no matter what my circumstances? He is truly Wonderful.

Sue Bohlin 1 day ago

Thanks Martha!

I’m so thankful for Handel’s Messiah, so there is a sound track for Isaiah 9! So majestic!

Some years ago, we at were asked why Jesus is called “Everlasting Father.” Half our website is answers to questions, and I was privileged to provide one here:

The phrase “Everlasting Father” looks confusing, doesn’t it? It shouldn’t be taken literally, especially since Jesus the Son is not God the Father. The key is to understand the term “father” as “kingly protector of his people,” which was used in both biblical (for example, see Isaiah 22:21 and Job 29:16) and non-biblical literature. And we Americans are used to hearing George Washington called “the father of our country,” but it’s certainly not saying he sired all Americans! It’s a figurative term that describes a great leader.

Greg Jones 1 day ago

“Hostage Negotiator” I never got to claim that title while parenting. My kids were pretty feral and tended to immediately eat anything and everything they trapped.

Change inside the circumstances you can’t change. “[T]o come to Him in desperate hope” within the circumstance we’re in, I love that. When we see Him on the other side of circumstance we see, or I see myself, as insignificant in the circumstance.

For unto us a child is born-in this circumstance-we are not insignificant in our current circumstance. That was written, to, some Israelites, it was written, for, us. How more inspiring it must have been for original readers.

Great devotional.

Hope Harris 1 day ago

GM JTJ Family

Recently I have been reading through Isaiah and spent a couple of days in this passage.

One key take away for me has been. The prophet Isaiah ascribes four names to Christ. They reflect the total sufficiency of Christ to meet every need in our lives. Jesus alone is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. I can trust His leadership. I can trust the future to Him.

His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before— sustainable peace for all time. This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us, to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken. He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always. The intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will carry this to completion. (VR. & The Voice)

Hugh Stephenson 1 day ago

400 years in-between Malachi and Matthew. That is a long time for “hope” to just stand on a hill and look over the horizon and wait patiently.

In Exodus 40:34 the Glory of God comes.

Then for centuries and centuries His presence dwelt right over there in the temple.

We heard regular words from the Father reminding me who He is and how much He loves me and wants the best for me.

Then Ezekiel was shown the Glory of God leaving the Temple.

Can you imagine seeing such a thing?!?! It had to be like watching hope get up and leave.

And the hope returns when Jesus brings God back to the Temple for the first time in 400 years.

Greg Jones 2 days ago

El Gibbor a great example of teaching dictating translation.

The Septuagint translates El Gibbor as “Messenger of Great Counsel” Jesus reading his Greek First Testament would have read:For unto us…his name shall be called “Messenger of Great Council”

We read: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God”

The same word combination is used in Ezekiel32:21, only plural.

NIV translates-“mighty leaders”

The translations we read fit our traditional teachings, but if we just translate the words, Isaiah and Ezekiel should both read some form of either, mighty warrior/mighty warriors, or Mighty God/Mighty Gods.

That’s troubling for me to know but it’s not faith shattering. Up side is, it allows someone to reconsider Paul’s Ephesians statement in a different light.

Great pick ups on the Messiah.

Greg Jones 2 days ago

@Michael yesterday Re:some say…

I’m not familiar with that teaching/translation, generally how we teach is how we translate.

Example: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and ([gave] gifts to his people).”(Ephesians4:8)

Paul quoting Psalm68:18. The passage actually says:

When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you ([received] gifts from people, even from the rebellious)— that you, Lord God, might dwell there.

Paul, talking about God’s grace, inspires him to say ascended on high also means, descended to the lower, earthly regions.Eph.4:9

A Jewish Rabbi wouldn’t agree with the interpretation you mentioned, or Paul’s, but, using that scripture to allude to the ascension of Jesus, he would quickly track with the significance of ascension.

Thanks for that,

Michael Scaman 2 days ago

Jesus is the means and end of salvation.

A Son is given who shall be called El Gibbor and the remnant will return to the God of Jacob, who is called El Gibbor.

Isaiah 9:6 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 [El Gibbor]…. (the means of salvation given)

Isaiah 10:21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God [El Gibbor ] (the end of salvation achieved)

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

A strange way to save the world…

At the end of Moses life is the Song of Moses where he starts 'Listen oh heaven and hear oh earth for the Lord speaks"

Centuries later Isaiah starts with those words. 'Listen oh heaven and hear oh earth for the Lord speaks"

Court summoned to order. Charges laid out. Parable of the vineyard the final charge. And then the judge appears and He is glorious in Isaiah 6. Isaiah given a commission (which is usually at the start of the book but delayed till chapter 6). Isaiah sent to a people dull of hearing, hearts made hard.

God will give some light in the darkness here in chapter 9 as it points to Messiah. The mighty God (El Gibbor) only appears in the Bible here and in the next chapter as the God of Jacob the mighty Go (El Gibbor).

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