003 torch

     Isaiah says in 9:4 that "God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon’s little band."
     When light shines, there is deliverance from the distress and misery of darkness.  So mighty and complete is the harvest of joy and the victory over darkness that the chains and the oppression in their lives will be destroyed.
     This victory of darkness is compared to the battle of Gideon over the Midianites.  Judges 7 recalls that battle.  Gideon was told by God to reduce his forces from 22,000 warriors to only 300 before attacking the oppressive Midianite army.  300!!!  Gideon trusted God, even if reluctantly.  He ordered his 300 soldiers in the dark hours of the night to walk around in a then band and surround the Midianite camp.  He had each of them hold up the light of a torch and shout for the Lord.  The Midianites were thrown into confusion and fear and they slaughtered one another.  God routed the enemy.
    In the same way, Isaiah’s vision says, God will route that which oppresses his people.  The faithful follower of God can look forward to a day when the distress and misery that is present existence will turn into exuberant joy and abundant victory.  The tests and trials of life, not easy to understand in the moment- and certainly not what we would chose for ourselves- result in an outcome that is greater thatn anything we could have imagined or orchestrated.  They joy for the people of Israel, Isaiah said, would be so great.  The hostage situation of this life will end and therefore there will be incredible rejoicing.
    That sounds good. How great to know that the struggles caused by the darkness in our world will be obliterated by God.  That’s good news!  The light that shines into the darkness was coming into the world.

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