It’s raining again today in Calgary… and it’s cold. Feels like January in Vancouver… only it’s June and in the rolling prairies of Alberta. (I know most of the Americans who read this will have no idea what I’m talking about!)
Anyway, the damp darkness got me thinking about Isaiah 9:2. The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light- a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.
I remember when our energetic son was two years old. My wife and I would find ourselves every night walking around in darkness sometime between 12:30-4:00am as he would wake up and start making some crazy noises or go jumping around the house, etc. This nightly ritual would inevitably translate into guaranteed physical pain for Kathy or for me- (i.e. stubbing a toe). So being the loving, unselfish husband that I am, I would often try to allow Kathy the opportunity to get up first. Eventually, one of us had to get out of bed and navigate the furniture and doors and toys to locate and reposition our wandering two-year-old boy.
In Isaiah 9:2, you get the impression that God is stirring up and
preparing to go out into the dark to find his wandering people– people who were walking in darkness because of two factors:
1. PHYSICAL DISTRESS: The people of Israel were under great physical distress. They were struggling for survival: for food, safety, health, security. Added to this, Isaiah is told by God that another nation (Assyria) would soon invade and cast oppression on Israel. Slavery, re-location, exile, execution, wandering, dark times.
2. SPIRITUAL MISERY: The people of Israel were also suffering tremendous spiritual misery. In fact, much of their physical distress stemmed from their decaying spiritual condition. Israel, and particularly those that lived in this region, had lost God. Sin had separated them from their source of hope and truth. They had compromised their faith, had gotten confused about spiritual ideas, had allowed other spiritual options to crowd their lives. Like sheep they had gone astray. And now, they felt spiritually bleak. Their souls were dark.
Yet, in this dire situation, Isaiah says, the people have seen a great light- a light that shines on everyone who lives in the shadow of physical and spiritual death. Where death oppressed, light overpowers. Where darkness had brought hurt and fear, light brings healing and security, vitality… life.
I hope this passage makes a light bulb go on in your soul today. We as people too easily fall into a lifestyle where we stumble around in physical and spiritual blah. God wants to illuminate our lives. Ask him for his light today.