For the week of August 28, 1999 / 16 Elul 5759
Torah Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn (Isaiah 60:1-3).
The people of God are called to live from a point of view very different from the current popular mood. This passage speaks of hard times: "See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples" (verse 2). This describes a situation of ignorance, confusion, and despair.
Dark times make life difficult for even the best people. When corruption and immorality take hold of a society, otherwise good people often believe that they need to behave in like manner just to survive.
But Isaiah proclaims that a light is dawning. The light of God has come even while dark difficult times oppress many.
Gods reality is discovered in the midst of this dark world. His light has come and we need to take notice of it. As we do, we too will shine. By reflecting Gods light, more and more people will be drawn to it.
The above passage directly applies to the nation of Israel. In the midst of great darkness Israel was called to shine as a light to the nations. But this isnt something that just happens in spite of what we do. God calls us to arise, to face his light, in order to reflect it, in order to shine.
What Isaiah anticipated is reality today:
Yeshua is the true light of God. Through him we can reflect the light of God. It is because of him that Isaiahs words are not for Israel only, but for all that would receive him.
God is calling us to reflect his light in this dark world. Instead of waiting for things to get better, we are the ones, who with Gods help will bring Gods light to the world.
Arise and shine!
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