Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! (Isaiah 9:1-7)
The territories of Zebulun and Naphtali represented the whole northern kingdom of Israel. This was where Jesus grew up and where he proclaimed the Good News. This is why they would see “a great light.” This child to be born would become their deliverer—their Messiah—Jesus.
In a time of great darkness in Israel, God promised to send a light that would shine on everyone living in the shadows of death. This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ, who came to establish his kingdom and deliver all people from their slavery to sin (Matthew 4:14-17).
But Isaiah also writes, “Galilee of the Gentiles . . . will be filled with glory” and God “will enlarge the nation of Israel.” In other words, Jesus would be the deliverer for all people, not only Israel (Galatians 3:9). Jesus would be “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
In our gloom and despair, we often begin to fear that our sorrows and troubles will never end. But Jesus is the light we look to and the light by which we see. He may not always spare us from troubles, but if we follow him wholeheartedly, he will be with us as we go through them.