21 days of prayer and fasting - Isa 60
Freedom from darkness! The promise for the people of God who hear and obey Him is that the light of His glory will come on us.
As always, an Old Testament passage only really makes sense when we read from the perspective of Jesus. He is the light as the New Testament reveals (John 8:12) and if we follow Him we will not live in darkness.
Isaiah’s prophetic vision describes in picture language the glory of God among His people. It has echoes throughout scripture, because God’s heart and intention always has been to live with His people.
We are designed to be a place He can come to live in, a place He make home in. The Old Testament temple is a symbolic picture of this (Eph 2:19-22). The city is another symbolic picture of what is happening, as God joins His people together in unity so His presence may come. There are many echoes of Isaiah’s prophecies in Revelation (e.g. Rev 21:22-23).
What we see now is a beginning, part of the process that will be completed when Jesus returns. Some scholars and readers of the Bible place more emphasis on the Kingdom of God coming now and others more on the Kingdom coming when Jesus returns. The truth is that we cannot be sure who is right until it happens! It is not that the Bible does not say enough about this theme, but that the Bible says enough to know we cannot know this in advance!
What we know for certain is that the Kingdom is here among us, it is coming, and it will come in fulness.
Our task is not to work out how much we can expect to see the Kingdom come now. It is to pray and proclaim truth, to live righteously and so to advance the Kingdom.
There is an interesting theme in Isaiah 60 (and it is picked up in other passages including the very next verse in Rev 19 - verse 24). Nations (i.e. people groups) will come to the light.
Nations - those who are not currently Gods people - will come and serve Him as a result of the light being seen in us. Jesus said the same in Matthew 5:14-16. It is another passage we usually read as applying to us as individuals but is better interpreted as applying to us corporately. After all, Jesus refers to a city set on a hill. And in John 17:20-21 He prays about unity “so that the world may believe.”
Isaiah 2:1-5 and Zecharaiah 8:20-23 also give a glorious picture of people in darkness being attracted to the light.
The purpose of our freedom is not just to shine like little individual lights, but to be built together into a temple, a body, a city, with such unity that the world - whole people groups - will come to know God and be filled with His glory.