To Bring Light to a World in Darkness
Open Your Bible
Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 60:1-3, Isaiah 60:19-22, John 1:1-9, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:8-14, Revelation 21:23-27
By Russ Ramsey
Not long after moving to Nashville in 2010, I took our family downtown for the Country Music Festival to be tourists in our city. If you’ve ventured down to Broadway during CMA week, you can picture the scene: denim, roper boots, and cowboy hats as far as the eye can see. One particular area was so crowded we had to move in single file. I told the kids, “On my six!” That’s a military term for what’s directly behind you, as in 6:00. I held out my hand, and we formed a human chain so we wouldn’t get separated from each other.
The book of Isaiah is about following God in a difficult world. It is God saying to His people, “On my six.” Isaiah and his people are looking out and seeing a hard road ahead. What’s been done in the past is done. What’s coming, though, is a glorious reversal. Rescue seems impossible. But hope will break in soon.
What will that hope be like? The prophet Isaiah says people walking in darkness will see a great and everlasting light (Isaiah 9:2; 60:19). This is not hypothetical, but reality. Freedom and joy will be restored as the deep, deep darkness is lifted. The great reversal of hope will not be restricted to Israel alone, but will expand far beyond to you and me, increasing and deepening joy the world over. What will mark that glorious reversal? What will bring light into our dark world? The next three verses spell it out.
First, there will be release from oppression (Isaiah 9:4). God will break the yoke of our burden, the staff on our shoulder, and the rod of our oppressor. What burdens you? What keeps you down? What smothers your heart? One day, those things will all be gone.
There will be an end to war; every boot of the warrior and every blood-stained garment will be burned as fuel (Isaiah 9:5). Imagine a day when no one will ever fight again! Peace will reign over every corner of creation—without and within. What wars rage against you? Inside you? All of it will end.
And the coming birth of our perfect ruler is proclaimed and prophesied:
For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
He will be a joy for the nations, and the reunification of a fractured world will occur under His perfect rule. The language used here to refer to that perfect ruler cannot refer to anyone other than God incarnate. “Wonderful Counselor” means He is perfect in wisdom. “Mighty God” means He is nothing less than divine. “Everlasting Father” means our inheritance will never be in jeopardy because our loving protector cannot die. And “Prince of Peace” promises His rulings will be just.
Here’s the cause for joy: God sees the chaos and goes before us, hand outstretched, saying, “On my six.” Though His judgment can lead to places of desperation, a glorious reversal is coming, and nothing can stop it. That reversal is a person—Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who took on flesh.
Written by Russ Ramsey