26 June 2015

Isaiah 60:1-14

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you … the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (vv. 1-3)

Psalm: Psalm 34:1-10


A wonderful future for the city of Jerusalem and for God's people is promised in today's passage from this third part of the book of Isaiah. The people had returned from their exile in Babylon, which had resulted in no small way from their disobedience to God's rule. There are references to the continuing building up of the temple and of the city walls. This may indicate that the prophet is speaking soon after the return from exile, when building was still being undertaken. Or perhaps we can understand it as meaning that the building of God's kingdom is a continual process, always needing care and attention.

A major theme in the passage is that of light shining out to all the world. Through all that had happened, and the associated darkness and gloom, the time had now arrived when nations will draw near. There is a wonderful description of wealth being offered and shared. Young and old, foreigners as well as those returning from far away, camels and ships bearing treasure - all will be accepted and will glorify God's house.

Strangely, although we read of the walls of the city being built up, the gates are always to remain open! So that all can bring their offerings and all can be welcomed.

To Ponder

  • How easy do you find that you can experience the light of God's presence?
  • In what ways would you change the church so that "nations will come to your light"?

Bible notes author

The Revd Stephen Burgess

Revd Stephen Burgess is chair of the York & Hull District of the Methodist Church. He initially trained as a chemist and after some years in industry and teaching served in two school chaplaincy appointments before becoming superintendent of the Cambridge Circuit and then moving to Yorkshire.