This article on Isaiah 9:2 is about the light for this world and for our hearts.

Source: The Messenger, 2008. 3 pages.

Isaiah 9:2 - The Light of God Shines in the World

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 shine

Isaiah 9:2

We hear much bad news in the worlddisasters, wars and deaths. But with the bad news there is also good news. It is the glorious reality of salvation in Christ. In this troubled world there are sinners who find everlasting life through the Lord Jesus Christ. In our text, the Lord speaks of a people who walk in darkness and see a great light. What does this mean? Who are these people?

The Land of the Shadow of Death🔗

Where is this land of the shadow of death? There is a historical background to this text. The king of Syria and the king of Israel had joined forces to attack Judah and to overthrow the royal house of David. They wanted to install a puppet king over Judah and then force Judah to join ranks with them to fight against Assyria.

King Ahaz of Judah is afraid and he enters into an alliance with Assyria and asks Assyria to attack Israel and Syria. That did happen. The Assyrian armies attacked the northern part of Israel and destroyed homes, killed people and captured others, relocating them hundreds of miles away. The whole area of the land of Zebulon and of Naphtali was in ruins, so that this area is called the Galilee of the nations. It was a very dark period for that part of the land.

Not only these people, but eventually all of Israel would be overrun by the Assyrians, who would also turn their war machinery against Judah. It was a very dark period for Israel and Judah. More seriously, the people lived in spiritual darkness. The king of Judah worshipped idols. Terrible sins were breaking out among the people: superstitions (Isaiah 2:6), materialism (Isaiah 2:7), idolatry and selfindulgence (Isaiah 2:8), pride (Isaiah 2:17), sensuality (Isaiah 3:16), alcoholism (Isaiah 5:11,22), and conceit (Isaiah 5:21).

By Nature all Walk in Darkness🔗

These sins sum up the overall wickedness of man. Man walks in darkness. That is his natural condition. Why? Because in Paradise we all lost God. The way we are born, we all go our own way. We are alienated from God and know not true life. We are dead in trespasses and sins. We stand guilty before God. We belong to the people of whom our text says that they walked in darkness: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death. That is you and me. We walk in darkness and live in the land of the shadow of death.

The text says that we live there; we dwell in the land of the shadow of death. That is how we live us, you and me. We think it is normal that we die, suffer pain and misery, and live a life of selfindulgence. All the sins just mentioned are around and in us as well: superstition, materialism, selfindulgence, pride, alcohol abuse, idolatry, sensuality, etc. This describes society in 2008, but these things also live in our hearts and are the cause of our darkness, misery, unhappiness, and death.

The Great Light🔗

The worst part is that people do not even realize they live in darkness. We think it is normal to live a life of pleasure and finally die. But that is abnormal. Our eyes have to be opened to this. Isaiah may preach of a great light that shines on people who are in darkness due to the consequences of their sin. The light shining on the people of Isaiah’s day was the shining of the Word of God, which alone brings deliverance and salvation. God would give liberty, comfort and salvation in the way of repentance and turning to the Lord. But even more intensely that Light would one day shine in Galilee, in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man’s darkness because of sin cannot be dispelled by man’s own works. Deliverance cannot be produced by human means. Man needs to receive redemption and deliverance from God. And God did give this deliverance by sending His Son into the world. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). This is the light of peace and blessedness. Instead of the darkness of death, the Lord gives the light of life. Instead of the darkness of ignorance, the Lord gives the light of knowledge. Instead of the darkness of sin, He gives the light of salvation.

The word salvation is to be taken in the widest possible sense: it refers to the total renewal of our lives, hearts, and even our bodies. The whole world will be made new and perfect in salvation. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Christ’s light would bring life and immortality.

At the birth of Christ that light began to shine in the world. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them (Luke 2:8,9). The great light of God shines in the midst of the darkness of our world and in the midst of the darkness of our hearts.

But this light must enter into our hearts. It is not enough that we see this light; it is not enough that we are under this light for a while. We need to have this light within us. We must be personally enlightened by this light.

The Light must Shine in Our Hearts🔗

William Wilberforce, member of English parliament at the end of the 18th century who fought for the abolition of slavery, once took his friend, the Prime Minister of England, William Pitt, to hear a famous minister preach. During the service Wilberforce had felt, as he said, his soul rise to heaven, but Pitt said he had not the faintest idea what the preacher had been talking about. Light had shone into Wilberforce’s heart; but Pitt’s heart remained darkened.

We need God’s light to shine into our hearts. It is not enough to know that there is light; we need to have that light in our hearts. People can easily assume that all is well with them when they hear of salvation in Christ. They can easily have a hope of pardon, especially when they are ignorant of the evil of sin and have low thoughts of the holiness of God. People can tell themselves that all is well, but only a declaration of Christ Himself can give true peace and real comfort to the soul. All this happens through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God opens our eyes to our natural darkness. Then you see that your soul is defiled. The same Spirit points us to Christ Jesus and shows us His purity and His finished work on Calvary. A door of hope is opened to us in Christ. When the dignity of Christ in His person, work and sufferings are seen and the natural enmity against Christ is removed, there will be love and admiration for Christ in the heart instead. The mind is changed and made to agree with the truth. Then the cross of Jesus becomes the pleading ground for our sins. Then we flee to the cross and behold the Saviour in His beauty.

In Him you will see laid up all the treasures of life and salvation. Jesus becomes precious to you because in Him alone is your salvation. Your heart is made willing by His power and you are willing to confess your sins and miseries. You agree with God’s judgment, but at the same time you long to be made new by the power of His Spirit. Your heart thirsts for the living Christ and you taste something of the peace of God in your heart. You see the goodness of the Lord in supplying such a wonderful Saviour. His love fills your heart and you desire Him above all.

Christ is drawing you to Himself and from Him you receive a solid hope and a sure salvation. You are humbled and you see your duties and calling and you now walk in a new and living way of obedience. Then you have experienced what is stated in Colossians 1:13, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.

Do we know these matters in our life? This light is still shining and He still hears the cries of the needy when they call upon Him. Cry then to Him to be delivered from your darkness.

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