ARISE, SHINE; FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME! (PART 1)
Arise, shine,for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.' (Isaiah 60:1) NIV. Many verses in the Bible are of universal application but the above verse is targeted specifically at a particular group of people - the group that has failed, neglected or is slow to do what God they ought to do. It is that failed past that has led to the clarion call to act contained in Isaiah 60 verse 1.
Isaiah 60 starts with a call: 'Arise, shine,for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.'(verse 1). The next seven verses clarify that call, speaking specifically to the church of God, which is made up of those who claim to be God's own children.
Today, we'll focus on 'Arise, shine; for your light has come!' to ascertain what this two-fold command means for us within the immediate context of Isa. 60:1 - 3.
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
We observe three important things:
1. The 'rising and shining' of our 'light' in verse 1 has to do with God's glory shining through us. This fact is mentioned in verse 1b ('the glory of the Lord is risen upon you') and repeated in verse 2b ('But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.' We have no light of our own, except that which comes from the Lord.
2. The 'rising and shining' of our 'light' in verse 1 has to do with sharing and passing on of God's truth to those who need to hear it. This is emphasized in verse 3 ('The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.' Our light or message is for 'Gentiles' and 'kings' who need to see.
3. The need for the 'rising and shining' of our 'light' in verse 1 is occasioned by a darkness that covers the earth. This is stated clearly in verse 2: 'For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people.' This last point deserves further emphasis which we shall get to shortly :
Our key verse appears to cover the entire spectrum of time - past, present and future. The use of the word 'arise' hints at a past state of sleeping, sitting, stopping none or limited activity and definitely not at full or maximum capacity, hence the need to have a change.
The verse goes on further to usher in the present with the clarion call to 'arise,' and after doing so, a future activity, which is to 'shine' because there is no other thing to do since 'thy light is come.'
According to the Pocket Oxford Dictionary, the word 'arise' means to 'originate,' 'result,' 'come to one's notice; emerge,' or to 'rise, especially from the dead or from kneeling.'
These are very interesting terms that are used to describe a seemingly-simple word. The latter definition: 'to rise, especially from the dead or from kneeling' arrests the attention more and seems to be the intention of this particular verse and that is what we shall focus on it.The request or command 'arise' is reserved almost exclusively for someone who is not in an upright position, for nobody can tell you to 'arise' if you're on your feet already. The term will be used if you need to get on your feet and have not. It might be because you have either forgotten you are in that position or you've been waiting for the cue to get up. The Lord God speaking through the Prophet Isaiah calls on His children to 'arise.' Many of the problems in our world today are as a result of the wrong posture or leaning on issues that require uprightness. Whether in our thinking, speaking or actions, we have clear responsibilities as God's children to rise up to do what He has tasked us to do. Because this is lacking the call to 'arise and shine' is relevant to each one of us.
'Rising up' requires a deliberate attempt by the one doing so. It is also empowering, for when you arise, you gain confidence and can see farther. Your gait is firmer as you can stand better. You're in a better position to confront challenges than when sitting or lying down. You're on your feet and can use all the parts of your body. If there is need to run, you'll be able to do so because you rather arisen on your feet than being flat on your back or sitting down.
Moreover, wasted or useless limbs serve no useful purpose to the owner. When limbs are not used, atrophy sets in and they become even more useless and unfit for any other purpose. Such cannot happen to the spiritual or physical muscles of a Christian who responds to the call to 'arise and shine.' There will be constant activity and little likelihood of limbs getting diseased from immobility.
There are problems in our nation that require alertness and watchful attention to detail. Crime is rife, corruption is endemic and man continues to want to bulldoze his way to supersede God's, to the peril of the whole world. Yet many calmly slumber on, not caring about the outcome of these wrongs. They believe so much in 'the fence' which they count on to always be available for them to sit on, without feeling the urgent need to arise and stand on the right side.
May be you're in an obscure position where nobody notices you or your efforts and struggles. As a result, you're filled with doubts, grumpiness and you are wallowing in deep pits of confusion. Depression looms in your doorway, your head is bowed low in you and you cower in shame, offering apologies for even the air that you breathe. Isaiah 60:1is challenging you to cast off the doom and gloom and arise.
This is the same reason why the Apostle Paul reminds us that in these critical time of earth's history when pundits and scholars are getting increasingly confused by perplexing but already-prophesied events, 'And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.' (Romans 13:11).Re-echoing our key text to all those who sleep or crouch or lean or sit at this grave period of earth's history, Paul further adds to the words of Isaiah 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.' (Ephesians 5:14).
There is no other cause to pursue by us as Christians than to arise. Any other position will jeopardize our soul and wellbeing and tarnish the cause of our Lord. After arising from our position, we are asked to then shine. What does this mean for us?
TO BE CONTINUED!
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