Isaiah 60:1,-3 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
This is a very famous passage, and we have used verse 1 as the Scripture for the Year in the past. The thing that strikes me right now as I read it is that the glory is the Lord’s, even though it makes us shine. In terms of translation, the Japanese is essentially identical to the NIV for verse 1, but there are some interesting differences in verse 3. The Japanese says, “Nations will walk in your light, and kings will walk illuminated by your shining.” Since from verse 4 on it speaks many times of people coming to Zion the NIV translation seems reasonable, but the thought of God’s people illuminating the way for others to walk seems significant. Time and again I keep coming back to the awareness that God’s blessings aren’t exclusively for the direct recipient, even though that recipient does benefit greatly. When God enlightens us, we are to let that light shine through us for others to see the truth as well. However, as Peter cautions, we are to do so with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15-16 The NIV puts that admonition in verse 15, and the Japanese in verse 16.) Again and again and again the Bible tells us not to get proud over what God does for and through us, but rather give Him all the glory. The minute we try to take credit, we lose the benefit.
This is something the Lord has had to tell me many times. He has blessed me greatly in many ways, but I’ve got to remember it is all because of His grace, and not because I earned or deserved it. I’ve also got to remember that every blessing is to flow through me to others, and actively seek His will for how that is to happen. The most basic, and most important, element is simply that of knowing Him. The more I know of Him, the more I want to share Him with others, and the more it breaks my heart when others reject Him in one way and another. It’s also a reminder of how many times and in how many ways I have rejected Him myself, but He has always patiently called me back to Himself, just like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) If I fail to be a channel of God’s blessings to others, it shows I don’t know God sufficiently myself. As John said, “This is love for God: to obey his commands.” (1 John 5:3) If I fail to bless others, I fail to love Him.
Father, You know what is going on in and around us right now. I pray that Your perfect will for each detail may be fulfilled, changing us all more into the likeness of Your Son and drawing many more into Your family, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!