Week 3, Day 1

Day 1: Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord shines over you.
For look, darkness will cover the earth,
and total darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will shine over you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to your shining brightness.

1. Isaiah has received from God these words of encouragement for his people as they go into exile. The final chapters of the book of Isaiah display to concurrent yet unified stories: darkness will cover the earth, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. Isaiah was living through a series of dark times. This was likely written during the reign of Manasseh, which was so brutal that the book of Kings describes innocent blood filling the city from one end to the other. (2 Kings 21:16). God’s message to Manasseh was one of doom, with a promise of even worse to come. Even the reign of Josiah, Judah’s best king since David, cannot stop the rot. Yet inside this message of doom is one of hope. The Chronicler gives us insight that even Manasseh, bad as he was, was not beyond hope of repentance in exile (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). This same hope is given to the exiled people of God: the light has come even in exile. The glory of the Lord will shine over you even in exile.
2. Jesus is the light that has come. He is the glory of the Lord that shines. He is the shining brilliance that will bring the nations together.
3. We are to anticipate the Kingdom of God in hope, even and especially when the world has gone dark. The people of Israel who read and kept these words were far from home. They were in the wrong place, among the wrong people, forced to do the wrong things in the wrong way. They could not go the Temple and meet their God, because the Temple was destroyed. We have never been in such dire straits. Yet at times our souls may feel as displaced and lost. We may feel we are in the wrong place, with the wrong people, doing the wrong things in the wrong way. God has promised that while darkness covers the earth, the glory of the Lord will shine over you. The instruction of Isaiah 60 is simple hope beyond understanding, to arise in the darkness, for the light has come.
4. The nations will come to your light, and the light is Christ. The coming Kingdom of God cannot be stopped. Today there is deep irony in the popular statements that the church is dying. For it is dying only in the secular west. The church has never stopped growing, and it today is growing as fast as ever. The day will come when the shining brilliance of the light of Israel becomes undeniable, and the hope of the exiles is fulfilled.