25 February 2021Isaiah 60:1-7
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. (v. 2)
Isaiah is one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament. There is no certainty that the prophet after whom the book is named is the sole author. As God’s messengers, the prophets spoke to the people in various ways and for various purposes: to reprimand, to encourage. Much of their speech is poetic; they use images to convey their message and one cannot take all their words literally.
The passage we are studying today, Isaiah 60:1-7, comes after a passage in which the prophet points out the consequences of injustice. Isaiah 60 contains a vision: it is not a prediction of the future. Instead, the prophet is using his imagination to envision a world in which God’s reign is paramount. It speaks to a people whose city lies in ruins; there is chaos; the people are in darkness. But, says the prophet, there is hope. The light is a symbol of this hope. It is not the kind of artificial light to which we have become accustomed in our world today. It is an everlasting light; a light that attracts others. The phrase “glory of the Lord” in verse 1 literally means the importance of God. It says that God is not our equal. In this vision, the city will be rebuilt and many will return home. Wealth and prosperity will be restored. Camels were a mode of transport; flocks were a sign of wealth; sheep were offered as a sacrifice. Gold and frankincense were precious and remind us of the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus (Matthew 2:11).
This passage speaks to us in the darkness and chaos of Covid-19. It is easy to lose sight of the light amidst the darkness, unless we lift up our eyes and look.
- To what extent are you currently experiencing darkness in your life?
- How does this passage encourage you to hold on to the promise that darkness will be replaced by light and hope?