A Great Light!
“‘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.” – Isaiah 9:2 NLT
They say that darkness is simply the absence of light. Darkness isn’t actually a substance. It is the lack of something. As we read through the history of Israel and Judah we see that they have, for the most part, rejected God as their King and sovereign ruler. At one point they demanded that they be given a king like all the other nations. So God gave them Saul. He proved to be just what they were asking for – a king just like all the other nations had. He was a mighty warrior, but not a man who had a heart for the things of God. So he was replaced by David, who we are told was a man after God’s own heart. But even David had flaws. He was not perfect. Yet God made a covenant with David that assured him one of his descendants would rule on the throne of Israel in Jerusalem forever. What follows is the topsy-turvy history of the kings. After the reign of Solomon, David’s son, the nation of Israel splits in two – with Israel to the north and Judah to the south. A succession of kings follow that seem to get progressively worse. Occasionally there is a glimmer of light in the midst of the darkness, but for the most part, these are not good days for Abraham’s descendants. God sends prophets with messages of judgment. He will not tolerate the sins of His people forever. His holiness demands that justice be done. Sin must be dealt with. The rebellion of His people must be quelled.
But right in the middle of all the doom and gloom we read an incredible message of hope. It reveals so much about our God. He is just and holy. He is righteous and intolerant of sin. But He is also longsuffering, patient, kind, and merciful. He is not surprised by the rebellion of His people. He is not shocked that they have turned from Him and are now serving other gods. He knew that would happen when He chose them as His own. And He also knew that if His people were going to be saved from complete annihilation, He would have to do it. They could not save themselves, because they were self-destructive. In the midst of their darkness, God was going to send a light – a great light. The people were in darkness because God had removed His presence from their midst. Their darkness was due to an absence of righteousness. It was a moral darkness. It was a blackness of the soul. And nothing the people could do would illuminate the darkness and provide light for them to see their way out. So God would provide the light for them. He would send His own Son – the light of the world (John 1:4-5). Isaiah chapter nine gives us a glimpse of God’s redemptive plan for mankind – hundreds of years before it took place. Out of Galilee would come the hope of the world. He would “break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders” (Isaiah 9:4 NLT). Jesus Himself would offer the invitation, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:18-20 NLT). Jesus came to a people who were weary from having tried to live in self-righteousness for generations. They were burdened down by religious rules and legalistic demands. They were worn out from having tried to measure up to what they believed to be God’s expectations of them. They were religious about being religious, but they were lost in the darkness of their own sin. But a light would shine. God would invade the darkness with His own presence. He would punctuate His own silence with a message of hope from the lips of His own Son.
“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 9:6-7 NLT)
Father, without the light provided by Your Son, I would still be living in darkness. It is only His presence in my life that allows me to see at all. He provides me with light to see my own sin and my constant need of His saving grace. Thank You for illuminating the darkness of my life with the light of Your Son. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men