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(07-09-16) Shine - Isaiah 1

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Isaiah 60

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

4Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. 6Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. 7All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.

8Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? 9Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honour of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendour.

10Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favour I will show you compassion. 11Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations – their kings led in triumphal procession. 12For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.

13The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the pine, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn the place of my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place of my feet. 14The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no-one travelling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. 16You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. 18No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. 21Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land for ever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendour. 22The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.

·   Talk about light

o   passage speaks of hope of a future reinstated glory for Jerusalem

o   also speaks to us about God, his relationship with his people, and the mission that he gives to them/us

·   Light is a significant attribute of God and a significant part of his creation:

Genesis 1:3-4

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Revelation 1:12b-17a; 4:5-6a

And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

4:5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

·   “What important lesson do we learn from this passage?”

·   “You’ll need two things in heaven; earplugs and sunglasses!”

·   God is a god of light and brightness, not darkness and shadow

o   not that he is not present when we find ourselves in darkness, but it is there that he shines his light

o   ‘Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? /

It breathes in the air, it shines in the light

(Robert Grant / William Kethe)

·   The brightness of his glory is as a blessing to his people

o   Isaiah shows so clearly

o   also the great priestly blessing:

Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you and keep you; 25the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

·   For God to shine his light on his creation is to give of his very best

o   it is ‘a symbol of the saving presence of God in a fallen world’ (McGrath)

o   corridor in college – groping in the dark

o   light = rescue (Isaiah 60)

·   Yet Isaiah does not just tell Jerusalem that God has come to rescue them

o   he tells them to shine

o   recalling Jesus’ well-known words:

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

·   World of electricity and fluorescent lighting

o   yet the meaning remains clear

o   the light which we have received as salvation we are not to keep to ourselves

Philippians 2:14-16a

Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life…

·   The world in which we live seems to be covered in darkness

o   growing every day

·   We may feel that we are insignificant

o   yet we have in our possession a light that removes all darkness

·   We may feel that we live in darkness ourselves

o   yet the offer of light is there for us all to take hold of

o   in the kindness of a neighbour, the comfort of a friend

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