December 9, 2015

Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.

This church has loved verse 1 for a long time, and we have it on a banner on the wall, but as I read just now current events came into sharp focus, and I got an image of the “thick darkness” that covers the nations without Christ. Light seems relatively insignificant until there is darkness to compare it to, and these days the contrast could hardly be more striking. It spoke huge volumes to me that in the recent episode of terrorism in Santa Monica, one of the people who was killed was an outspoken Messianic Jew. Nothing could be an object of more hatred to a radical Muslim! One “journalist” even made a moral equivalence between the two, because the Messianic Jew had made clear pro-life statements on Facebook, and that was called “hateful!” The “thick darkness” takes many forms, but it certainly brings the light into sharp focus! The point is not to cower and be afraid, because that is precisely what the devil and those who follow him want. Rather, it is to stand tall and strong, speaking the truth in love and letting God’s light shine through us, just as Jesus said. (Matthew 5:16) Think about it. If people don’t get God’s light through us, how will they get it? We are hearing stories of Muslims who are seeing visions of Jesus, but He always tells them to seek out a Christian to get the whole story. That’s just like He did with Cornelius, telling him to send for Peter. (Acts 10) The darker it gets around us, the brighter we will shine. I’ve always liked the children’s song, This Little Light of Mine. More adult believers need to sing it, and mean it!

When we used Isaiah 60:1 as our verse for the year (after which we made the banner) I recall preaching on the fact that it is a command. Many of us don’t feel capable of shining, but God never commands anything He doesn’t enable us to do. The thing is, we often don’t discover His enabling until we make the choice of obedience. We don’t think we’re capable of anything but going with the flow of society around us, but when we make the clear choice to stand for Christ, the power of God is released in our lives. It may well not be comfortable, and we could well lose some friends in the process, but the end result will be more than worth it. I am personally tempted to be distracted by the darkness, with something of a morbid fascination at all its myriad forms, when what I need to do is focus on the light! The devil still tries to distract me with negatives, and sometimes he succeeds, but I am to submit fully to God so that I may resist the devil fully. He can’t endure that! (James 4:7)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Some recent events had pulled me down to the point of depriving me of blessings You had for me. Forgive my lack of faith! Help me walk in Your peace and joy regardless of the darkness around me, knowing that Your light in and through me is far greater than any work of the devil. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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