“For You have shattered their burdensome yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as You did on the day of Midian.” (Isaiah 9:4 CSB)
On the “day of Midian” the Lord routed a combined army of about 200,000 soldiers without the Israelites ever having to attack or be attacked. It was purely the work of the Lord in sending the Midianites fleeing.
Isaiah says that the Messiah who was to come would shatter the burdensome yoke and the rod of the oppressor. The oppressor is the one we call the Devil. He is the one who oppresses people with their sin and guilt, the one who revels in death and destruction and hate. The Lord is the One who loves us and who wants us to be released from our fears and terrors related to sin and guilt and punishment. He is the Author of true freedom. It is not surprising that people would take these ideas to mean that the Messiah would come as a warrior to defeat the enemies of God’s people, but the true idea is that the real enemy is a spiritual one. As Paul wrote, “We do not wrestle with flesh and blood.” (Ephesians 6)
Jesus came in fulfillment of this prophecy, to destroy the works of the Devil. He came to free us from sin and its sting, which is death. He came to show us that there is a way to real life and freedom through faith in Him. He showed us what He is willing to do to help us have this freedom. And that is what His coming was all about.
Lord, We are forever grateful to You for Your act of mercy and kindness toward us. We deserved none of it, but You acted out Your grace through Jesus and His cross. The power of the resurrection now opens to door into the light, and we thank You for calling us to enter. Amen.