Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. — Isaiah 60:1-2
Not long ago, our town suffered a major electrical blackout in the middle of the night. A portion of the power distribution station for the surrounding area exploded with a loud boom and a light show that could be seen across town. The result was a loss of power to every part of the city. There were no street lights, traffic lights, or porch lights — in fact, the only lights at all were those on emergency vehicles and headlights. The darkness was so dense in our house that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. I found it difficult to sleep under these circumstances, but my biggest concern was that if our two small children woke up, they would be afraid. Sure enough, before long they both awakened and found the darkness so disturbing that they began to cry. To put their minds at ease, we lit some candles in the living room. That was all it took and the children found the peace and comfort they needed to drift back into slumber.
Deep darkness, such as you might find in a cavern or a large blackout, can be frightening when there is no light to dispel it. It is very difficult to find direction in darkness like this, yet the smallest amount of light can fill an entire room and help you find your way. In our focus verse, the prophet Isaiah predicted that “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” In the midst of this spiritual darkness, God said He would shine His light and glory upon His people and in turn it would draw other nations to Him.
Today, if we have been born again, God’s Light has shone upon us, and we are His people through His Son Jesus Christ. As such, we need to direct others to His Light. Just as our children found peace in the candlelight during our neighborhood blackout, people around us can find peace in the Light of Christ. This world grows darker every day and many are looking and longing for something that will bring peace to their troubled world. Whether it is at school, on the job, or in conversation with our neighbors, God’s Light is the very thing they need.
If you think that what you can do seems small, remember that any glimmer of light will appear brilliant in a dark room. With God’s help, we can point others to His Light in this darkened world!
This chapter begins with a climactic announcement of hope — a divine call to Zion and Jerusalem, which was pictured as a captive slave, lying upon the ground. The summons was to “arise” and “shine” because the “glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Note that the prophet was so assured of the future fulfillment of his message that he used a verb tense indicating it had already occurred. After the dire depictions of the darkness and misery brought about by the sins of the people, the prophet proclaimed the advent of the new city of God, where the Lord will have dispelled the darkness. Because the Messiah would come to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 59:20) the Shekinah glory of God would emanate from the city.
In verses 4 through 9, the prophet indicated that the Jews living in foreign lands would return, and that Gentile nations from the east and west would come, bringing their tribute to Israel. This will result in great wealth flowing into the country. The specific places mentioned in verses 6 and 7 belonged to obscure tribes in the Arabian desert, hundreds of miles from Israel.
Verses 10 through 18 paint a graphic picture of Zion’s restoration. In His Millennial Kingdom, God will motivate foreign nations to help rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and the city that was once forsaken will become one of “eternal excellency.” Israel will become the world’s preeminent nation, and those who rebel and refuse allegiance to Jerusalem will be destroyed. Violence and crime will be unknown in Jerusalem, and the city will be one of both outward beauty and inward stability.
In the last four verses of the chapter, the prophet concluded by alluding again (as in verses 1-3) to the city being filled with brightness that comes from the Redeemer. The dark days when sin encompassed the world, referred to in verse 20 as “the days of thy mourning,” will have ended, and the people will be nourished and cared for by God himself.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
C. The provision for deliverance (future glory)
2. The glory of the kingdom
a. The position of Israel in the kingdom (60:1-22)
(1) Her enlightenment (60:1-3)
(2) Her prominence (60:4-14)
(3) Her peace (60:15-22)
God’s light alone can dispel the darkness of the wicked world that we live in. How we long for the day when the promises of this chapter will be fulfilled!