November 15, 2021 - Isaiah 8:19-9:2; Matthew 4:12-20
It is getting dark much earlier these days! Darkness has settled upon us earlier as the time shifted, and we are now on Standard time as we go through the winter months. There has been a movement to make Daylight Saving time permanent but that would take an act of the Federal government.
The people of Israel struggled in darkness and were looking for God to make a light for them and assist them through the struggles that faced their nation. They were a nation divided and oppressors were continually harassing the people of Israel. The prophet Isaiah warned that this would occur but that it was not the end. He stated that looking for answers in wrong venues would lead to darkness and gloom of anguish (Isaiah 8:19-22).
The prophet then speaks of a light that shines out of darkness that will enable the people to see their way. Isaiah looked forward to a time when the Lord would bring light and life to the people of Israel. When Jesus walked through the region of Zebulon and Naphtali in Matthew 4, he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. He then spoke and said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17).
John Newton wrote a meditation entitled Light Shining out of Darkness,
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread are but with mercy, and shall break in blessing on your head. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face. His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower. Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”
As we enter the holiday season with many dark and threatening skies may we also see the light shining out of that darkness and like the disciples when Jesus spoke to them, “Follow Me,… they immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:19-20). Whether in the Old or New Testament, His promises are true and sufficient. We will look at some of these prophecies and promises in the next few weeks. May we be encouraged even in the darkness as His light shines forth!