The Society was sick, morally, spiritually and physically. Isaiah highlights some of the symptoms in the opening passages of his writings. "From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment." (Isaiah 1:6)

The nation of Israel was also fascinated by the occult. Moses had warned the people of the dangers. "When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practises witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

"For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will disposess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you." (Deuteronomy 18:9-14) Israel was to steer clear of the darkness, which, had cloaked the nations. It is still good advice today. Similar to the Israelite nation of yesteryear, people today find a fascination with the Devil's doorways leading to despair and bondage.

The prophet Isaiah declared to his generation who had not heeded Moses' warning. "And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19) The consequence of this involvement resulted in the poverty of the nation and their unbridled anger. The hellishness of their situation is recorded and noteworthy, "They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upwards. Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness." (Isaiah 8:21-22)

As we read these verses, it would be easy to imagine that the Eternal, who is holy, would simply judge and obliterate the nation. This presumably would be what most others with any such authority would do. But that is not the way of the ever faithful covenant keeping God. The nation may, and does, break the Covenant but not the Lord. It is an expression of His holy providence that He is able to achieve His purposes even with a nation acting contrary to its calling. It is in such uncooperative circumstances that we realise the grace, power and perseverance of the God who will honour His word.

Flowing on from his bleak estimation of Israel's fitness before the Lord the prophet shatters the dismal scene with one word. " Nevertheless!" (Isaiah 9:1) God will not be denied the fulfillment of His purposes. In fact, the scene will be one of stark contrast – national darkness penetrated by heaven's light.

"Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first he lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before you according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." (Isaiah 9:1-3)

The impact will be more glorious than a conquering army sharing in the spoils of victory. It will be more joyous than end of harvest celebrations.

What will usher in these celebrations? What will be so awesome that it can only be compared to light bursting into the darkness?

What will have such authority as to break the bondage of the yoke of the occult? Isaiah doesn't point to the Lord God of hosts slaying the unrighteous and casting down the demonic. He adds to a promised babe in chapter 7:14 the following declaration, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

So great is the power of God to achieve His purposes that He will use a male babe, the child, to conquer the darkness and turn the nation's heart to the Lord God Almighty. Ever since the prophet wrote those words Israel, and indeed the world have waited for it to come to pass. Unfortunately some have endeavoured to prevent it. Some have tried to deny it. Others have sought to corrupt it or smother it. However, God who can turn humankind's anger to His own purposes will not be put off by such opposition.

There is a claimant to the fulfilment of this promise. In fact a Jewish tax collector recorded the life of the One he believed to meet the requirements of Isaiah's prophecy. "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.'" (Matthew 4:13-16)

Matthew was writing about Yeshua of Nazareth. Significantly, the sense of Isaiah's insights of a special babe to be born dominate the eye-witness accounts of the birth of Yeshua, as recorded in the Brit Hadesha by Matthew and Luke.

It is in the life and work of Messiah Yeshua that the 'Nevertheless' is able to be fulfilled. He is the source of heaven's light in the midst of a nation's darkness. Yeshua is God's "Nevertheless!" to all that is blocking a relationship with the everlasting Lord. Isaiah goes on to deal in more detail with this "son given" unveiling His character (chapter 11), His ministry (chapter 42) His rejection, death and resurrection (chapter 53), and His return in judgement (chapter 63).

Casting an eye over the world scene today is enough to create despair. It would almost appear to make the days of Isaiah a light hearted romp. If he broke his heart then, how would he feel today? One thing is for sure, he would still rest secure in the covenant keeping God. The prophet would acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, and bounce back with that declaration of faith, 'Nevertheless!'

God will fulfill His word to the nation of Israel inspite of internal unbelief and external hatred. He will reign from Zion (Isaiah 2). He will honour His Word to David (Psalm 89:20-37). He will be known as the Redeemer (Isaiah 43:14). This is the power and significance of "Nevertheless!" . A foretaste of it has been revealed in the babe of Bethlehem who became the man, Yeshua of Nazareth. A deepening appreciation is gained when He is recognised as the suffering servant of Isaiah chapter fifty-three, and the cursed one of Psalm twenty-two. A sense of awe is born when it permeates the mind that in both those passages as in Psalm 118 there is the vibrancy of resurrection life.

God in our estimation might be taking His time. When He decides 'time's up' events will happen quickly to the fulfilling of His promises. Let God's "Nevertheless!" take your eyes and heart away from the darkness and look to what He has already fulfilled and what He has promised for the future.