The people of Israel, including the Southern kingdom of Judah and Zebulun, Naphtali, and Galilee were a people who had been given great light. The light had shined brightly upon them when they were delivered from Egypt. They walked out of their captivity with great wealth given to them by their captors practically begging them to leave, and they left with payment for the 430 years of labor they had performed for the nation in which they had once found solace, food, and a home.
After their departure from Egypt they found themselves wandering in the desert, guided by the Pillar of Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night; which was the LORD God. There were times that the Fire took up the rear guard, and protected them from enemy assault. They had witnessed the power of God parting the Red Sea, and they crossed over it on dry land, and after safely crossing the walls of water came together crushing the Egyptian army which was pursuing them through the divide. After questioning God’s provision of the Promised Land, and its being the land of milk and honey, they took the advice of 10 men they had sent to survey the land, and had told them, “We can’t do it. There are giants in the land, and we are as grasshoppers in their sight” (Read Numbers 13). Then, because of their unbelief the whole nation, is condemned to wander through the desert for 40 years. Why? God had delivered the children of Israel from Egypt in a matter of a few days; He would take forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.
When the forty years were accomplished, they then, stood on the banks of the Jordan River, crossed over just as God told them, trusted the LORD God, and He gave them the land. However, their faith was not perfect. After many years of failing, and trusting; and trusting and failing, they found themselves separated from the land, and in the throes of enemy bondage, and that is the place they really find themselves to this day having never fully returned to their God given lands. Yes! There is a nation of Israel, but they are still dominated by Gentile rule (United Nations, and the United States of America).
They are a people to whom God gave a great light, and that light went dim, and even went out, at the least, covered by the ashes of the fire. Underneath there is a hot coal, waiting for the fuel to spring to life. O, how sad it is for a people who had light to find themselves in darkness. There is hope for the nation.
Hear the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah –
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)
Back in the land following the return from Babylonian captivity to the Roman invasion, they are a land still in darkness until One who came gave them the Light. The Light shined so brightly that they were blinded by His glory. It was one of those cases where they “could not see the forest for the trees.” All they had to do was listen, and receive the message which He proclaimed, but many refused, and even crucified the Light; thinking they had done God a service. Thus the nation remained and still remains in darkness.
Isaiah presents this prophecy as though it has already happened. Why does he do this? First of all because what ever God says will happen; will happen just as He has said, and in the way He has said. Not one word He has spoken will return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11). He will accomplish what He pleases. The prophet has not only given promise of the Savior coming, but there is promise of Him coming again in the verses which follow.
Matthew quotes these verses (1 & 2) as being prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:13-15.
With the power of Christ waning in many professing the name of Jesus would it not be a safe say that the power is fading because the light that shines is growing dim. Jesus told the Church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5 (KJV) Any church or professing Christian leader needs desperately to stand and demonstrate their love for Jesus Christ, His Word, His Church, and the Gospel of Christ.
We have been given great Light. However, if we give in to our culture, its pluralism, and begin speaking politically correct to win the hearts of the enemy of God, then, we become Biblically corrupt; and spiritually bankrupt, with no message that will convert a condemned people. When we do that the light has gone out. The salt is good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men (Matthew 5:13)
We were in darkness at one time, but we have the great Light of Christ. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”, Jesus said. We are told to let the light shine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that multitudes are going to notice, and surrender to God’s will for their lives.
The way the light continues to burn is by continually adding good fuel to the fire. The fuel is works of the Spirit of God — the reading and diligent study of God’s Word, fervent prayer, and an obedient life committed to the way of the Lord; done through the faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
Today is the greatest day to let your light shine, and the Light of Jesus Christ in us is the Light in the darkness of this world.
-Tim A. Blankenship