Bible Reading:

Isaiah 60: 1-3

The Glory of Zion

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Reflection:

Isaiah is a book of prophecy, it is was written by Isaiah himself, and he is believed to be the sole author of this book. It forms part of the “Major Prophets” in the Bible (the others being Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel). They are so named because of their length compared to the “minor prophets” (apart from Lamentations). Isaiah records prophecies both for the present day at the time of writing, and for the distant future. He records prophecies that relate to Jesus, they speak of both his birth and his death and even mention his death on a cross at a time before crucifixion was even known about. Isaiah truly had the gift of prophecy.

It is also interesting to note that Isaiah’s book contains 66 chapters in total, like the Bible as a whole contains 66 books. Again like the Bible Isaiah’s book can be split into 39 chapters and 27 chapters, the first half focusing on judgement, and the second focusing on salvation mirroring that of the Old and New Testaments. We are talking here about a book written in 700BC, a long, long time before the concept of the Bible as whole was even contemplated.

In today’s passage we read that the glory of the Lord will rise upon the land of Israel. Since we know that the second half of Isaiah’s book is a prophecy of salvation, and because we know what the New Testament tells us about Jesus, we can read this passage with strong conviction that Isaiah is prophesying about Jesus; the light that will come to earth.

As with last week’s blog, darkness is mentioned once again, and saying a “thick darkness is over the peoples”. Darkness is an absence of Light. If we are taking Light in this reading to be Jesus, and by the same nature God, the people are living without God in their lives. An unpleasant life, where seeing the truth is difficult. Isaiah is prophesying that one day, Jesus will come to the earth, bringing with him a light for all people. It is not just a light for the people if Israel (who were God’s chosen people in the Old Testament), but it is for all nations, see verse 3 where Isaiah says “Nations will come to your light, and Kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

I wonder whether the “kings” in this prophecy could be taken to mean the wise men that we see at Jesus birth; kings (wise men) who are there at the beginning of Jesus life on earth, the dawn of his life.

Many years ago, I wrote in the margin of my Bible next to this passage “God’s light breaks our darkness”. It’s great to read that God’s Light will destroy the darkness that people are wading through. Even today this is still true, and in a world where people are finding it harder and harder to see out from the darkness that is over them more than ever, it is important to remember that God’s light can shine through this darkness and help us all to see the truth.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you that your word is so powerful, that you enabled prophets hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus into our world to prophecy about him. Giving us real hope, and belief that this man we read about in the New Testament really is the Son of God, and really is the saviour of our world. I pray that your light would shine in my life, and would break through any darkness that I am currently struggling with. I pray too for all my friends, would you destroy their darkness, and bring them light. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sum it up:

Jesus is God’s light, and he came to earth to shatter the darkness of people living without God. He still does this today; breaking through our darkness and giving us a light to live by.

Weekly Challenge:

As you go about your week, I challenge you to keep asking God to show you his light in dark times. Why not try and make a note (it can be on paper, or on your phone) of the dark times you experience and how God helps you to overcome those situations.

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