Isaiah 19-20, 1 John 1

Walking In Darkness.

Isaiah 19-20, 1 John 1

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:5-6 ESV

The people of Judah had a bad habit. When they found themselves facing times of difficulty, it seems that their first response was to look for an immediate solution to their problem. And their natural impulse was to look for help through human means. When the Assyrians were breathing down their necks, it only seemed natural to turn to some other powerful nation for help. The logical solution to their problem seemed to be a military alliance with a powerful nation-state like Egypt or Cush. But God warned them that these sources of help would prove to be insufficient. He was to be their salvation. He was to be the one to whom they turned when times got tough. But in those dark moments of our lives, when things appear overwhelmingly difficult and we find ourselves in despair, it is so easy to make unwise decisions. We can find ourselves making matters worse for ourselves by focusing our energies, efforts, hopes and hearts on the wrong things.

What does this passage reveal about God?

The apostle John described God as “light.” He is unadulterated light “and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 ESV). Light speaks of God’s very nature. He is without darkness or sin. He exposes sin in the lives of men. He is pure and holy, completely truthful and provides those who turn to Him with the “light” they need to take the next step safely and securely. John goes on to say that “if we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6 ESV). The people of Isaiah’s day claimed to be in fellowship with God, but continually found themselves walking in darkness. Their lives were marked by sin and disobedience to the very one with whom they claimed to have a relationship. And when God disciplined them for their sin, rather than turn to Him in repentance, they groped around in the darkness for help. They turned to nations darkened by sin rather than turn to the light of God. Turning to God would require repentance. God was going to demand that they turn from their love affair with darkness and walk into the light of His glory and holiness. In their minds, turning to Egypt would bring them salvation without repentance. They could remain just as they were. No repentance required. No change necessary. But that wasn’t God’s plan. That wasn’t what God expected of them. So God would have to show them what happens when they refuse the light and turn to the darkness. He would destroy their sources of false hope. “The idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them” (Isaiah 19:1 ESV). “I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them” (Isaiah 19:4 ESV). Judah’s “savior” would end up needing salvation.

What does this passage reveal about man?

Fellowship with God involves intimacy. Having a relationship with Him requires coming into His presence and becoming exposed to His light and glory. His holiness exposes and reveals our sinfulness. The closer we get to Him, the more clearly we see our own deficiencies. But John provides us with hope. He reminds us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV). One of the benefits of living in the light is that it exposes darkness (sin). When God reveals the sin in our lives, it is not to condemn us, but it is in order to transform us. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8 ESV). As God exposes the sin in our lives, we have one of two choices. We can either acknowledge it and confess it, or we can simply deny it. But when we deny the very sin that God reveals, we are calling Him a liar. We are refusing to accept His divine assessment of our lives. That was the very problem the people of Judah had. God was punishing them in order to get them to acknowledge their unfaithfulness. He wanted them to see the error of their ways and repent. But rather than repent, they sought out other sources of salvation. Rather than admit their sins, they simply looked for other “saviors.” But it’s interesting to note that their choices would prove disappointing. Not only would Egypt be unable to save them, they would ultimately need saving by God. Isaiah prophesied about a time to come when God would rescue the Egyptians and cause them to turn to Him as their God. “When they cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering” (Isaiah 19:20-21 ESV). The day is coming when God will send a savior, His Son Jesus Christ, to rescue and redeem even the Egyptians and the Assyrians. That day has not yet come. It will take place when Christ establishes His millennial kingdom on earth.

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Our man-made solutions are always draped in darkness. Our human saviors are always flawed and marred by sin. God is the ultimate solution to mankind’s problem and man’s greatest problem is sin. The people of Judah had a sin problem. The people of Egypt had a sin problem. The people of Cush had a sin problem. The people of America have a sin problem. You and I have a sin problem. And the solution is Jesus. John wrote, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us.  We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy” (1 John 1:1-4 NLT). Jesus Christ was the Word of life. He is the source of eternal life. He is the means by which we can have fellowship, a restored relationship with God the Father. He came to pay the penalty for our sins. But He also came to set us free from the indwelling presence of sin in our lives. In his gospel, John describes Jesus as the light and says, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:4-5 NLT).

Father, thank You for sending the Light into the world. Thank You for sending the Light into my life. I am grateful that His presence in my life continues to expose the sin in my life. His holiness continually reveals my sinfulness. Not to condemn me, but in order to allow the Holy Spirit to continue His work of transforming me into the character of Christ. You are slowly, steadily making me the light You have called me to be. But there is always the temptation to run back to the darkness, to turn to something or someone else for answers to my sin problem. Help me understand that You alone are the sole source of help and hope for my life. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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