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Beginning January 1, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the next 31 days. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023.
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Read Isaiah 60
The Glory of Zion
60 “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.
4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.
6 Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
bearing gold and incense
and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.
7 All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you,
the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;
they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,
and I will adorn my glorious temple.
8 “Who are these that fly along like clouds,
like doves to their nests?
9 Surely the islands look to me;
in the lead are the ships of Tarshish,
bringing your children from afar,
with their silver and gold,
to the honor of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.
10 “Foreigners will rebuild your walls,
and their kings will serve you.
Though in anger I struck you,
in favor I will show you compassion.
11 Your gates will always stand open,
they will never be shut, day or night,
so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—
their kings led in triumphal procession.
12 For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish;
it will be utterly ruined.
13 “The glory of Lebanon will come to you,
the juniper, the fir and the cypress together,
to adorn my sanctuary;
and I will glorify the place for my feet.
14 The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you;
all who despise you will bow down at your feet
and will call you the City of the Lord,
Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 “Although you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one traveling through,
I will make you the everlasting pride
and the joy of all generations.
16 You will drink the milk of nations
and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold,
and silver in place of iron.
Instead of wood I will bring you bronze,
and iron in place of stones.
I will make peace your governor
and well-being your ruler.
18 No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
19 The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
21 Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
22 The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the Lord;
in its time I will do this swiftly.”
The people of Israel were in total darkness, depravity, and in the depressing consequences of their sin. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). “We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes” (Isaiah 59:9b-10a). The end of Isaiah 59 prophesies a redeemer to come, and in Isaiah 60 we see that redemption brought to life.
Light and glory have come to God’s people. Their sons and daughters have returned and their wealth has been restored. Those who oppressed them now bow down to them. The picture we see in Isaiah 60 is one of hope, joy, and celebration. It is a parade to restore what was lost. What is interesting to note is at the time they received this prophecy, their world was barren and empty. Things looked dark. Even so, they are commanded to “arise, shine, for your light has come” (v. 1).
This prophecy served as a reminder to God’s people that one day they would not need the moon or sun because God’s light would surround them entirely, forever (v. 19). What a hope to cling to and what a future to look forward to with God! However, this was not just a Word for a future time. Here, we see God calling His people into action this side of eternity. In the midst of thick darkness, God was commanding His people to rise up and shine bright for others to be drawn into His light.
What was true for the Israelites is true for us today. We have a future hope. We can look forward to an eternity with God as our Light. Praise God! But what about right now? In the darkness that surrounds us, we still have access to God’s light. Though things seem dark, God is near. He has placed us in this dark world on a mission to shine His light to others so the world will know Him.
- Reread Isaiah 60:18-21b and list out all the things we have to look forward to in eternity with God. Meditate on those truths and ask God to increase your longing for Heaven.
- Even though the world is dark, there is still light among us. List out 5 things you’re grateful for in your life right now. How do you see God’s light in the darkness around you?
- What is one way you can shine God’s light in the world around you today? Ask God for opportunities to be on mission for Him.
By The Way
Jesus shares this theme in Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
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