Light and Glory

Isaiah 60:1-22

Colors are important in life: navigation on air, land and sea. Red/green: air – high/low; land – stop/go; sea – right/left. Highlighters help to identify patterns. Color clothes tell us whether baby is boy or girl. Are indication of person’s health and perhaps mood. Can’t forget the Wordless Book:

My heart was black with sin / until the Savior came in; His precious blood I know / has washed me white as snow; And God’s Word I’m told / I’ll walk the street of gold; To grow in Christ each day / I read my Bible and pray.

We could use those colors to code Isaiah’s prophecy, too. Black for chapters 1-39; addressing Israel’s sin and coming judgment. Red for chapters 40-53; Holy One of Israel adds to his name – title of Redeemer. White for chapters 54-59; declares effects of redemption applied to God’s people. Gold for chapters 60-66; describes light that would come, glory associated with it. As Isaiah with eye of faith looked through his glass at that glory, two events and their outcomes blended together: Lord Jesus’ first coming for redemption, second coming for judgment. From Isaiah’s viewpoint this age merges into the next with no clear dividing line.

v.10 pivotal verse – explains paradigm shift from darkness of judgment to light of glory: “in My wrath I struck you, But in My favor I have had mercy on you.” Tide turned not because people smartened up, started doing it right. Was because of God’s mercy; true for all mankind in all situations – because of God’s mercy, his gracious compassion that any see the light. This chapter full of light and glory – absolutely, without exception has all its source in Lord God, the Holy One of Israel (9). It’s his glory, the Lord who must be praised, his name that is lifted up, his city where his glory is focused and concentrated.

A. the glory of the Lord (1)

a new day – Son rise has come (1)

Isaiah declares with absolute confidence (prophetic perfect): Light has come, glory has risen

not told to “look within themselves” for light; people had no lights, oil, matches, bulbs, batteries

only way would have light is from another source: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

darkness dispelled (2)

“a cloud of ignorance and sin so dense and obscure that no light can penetrate” Barnes

no area of world, no segment of humanity exempt from darkness of sin

one light can penetrate – the Lord and his glory

did indeed come into the world – “the true Light which gives light to every man” (John 1:9)

great attraction (3-4)

nations will see light and by God’s power be drawn to it (3)

those from far away or who have wandered far away – brought back to the light

world will serve the church (5)

Zion rejoices over increase in population

God works all things, including affairs of pagans, for good of his people

intends to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10); “has made Christ head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22); has been working toward that end from the beginning “to the praise of his glory”

B. the praises of the Lord (6)

unselfish worship (6)

response to seeing the light and glory of God:

get close

devote all to him, starting with most precious, without reserve

tell the story: proclaim good news of the Gospel

praise the Lord for greatness and goodness

acceptable sacrifice

God responds to true worship:

accepts the sacrifice (7a)

even from, of all people, descendants of Ishmael

Kedar, dark or black skinned, commonly known as Arabs; second son of Ishmael, claimed ancestor of Muhammad

glorifies the house (7b)

beautify his already beautiful house; add glory to already glorious

Jewish church was glorious, church that spans globe geographically and culturally far more so

C. the name of the Lord (9)

from a distance (8)

geographically – beyond the horizon

theologically – “off the reservation”, steeped in idolatrous worship

from a “difference” (9a)

different family – Gentile

different allegiance – devoted to the world

worshiping – lifting up the name of the Lord – with their substance as well as spirit

drawn to God by name – the Holy One of Israel (9b)

worshiping not just any God – Memorial Day prayers, other public prayers even in the church

particular God – Holy One of Israel – revealed in Bible, not other holy books – goes by name YHWH

when church experiences what Paul wrote about: “to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations” (Eph. 3:21), when God glorifies his church, people are drawn to her.

D. the City of the Lord (14)

resident “aliens” (10)

once again God makes it plain – church is bigger than Israel; includes Israel, for sure, and far more. Remember covenantal promise to Abraham – stars and sand.

“there’s a wideness in God’s mercy / like the wideness of the sea” – extends to all nations

place of continuous growth (11)

“converts from all parts shall be always coming in, and the gates of the church will stand open always to receive them; they will be welcome, come as many as will; there will be no objection to them, no hinderance of them; ministers and people will gladly embrace them; see Isa 26:2 and likewise of the capacity of the church to receive them; for though they will be continually coming in great numbers, yet still there will be room; the gates will not be shut upon them, as unable to receive more; place will be given for them to dwell in; her tents will be enlarged; the curtains of her habitation stretched out; her cords lengthened, and stakes strengthened; so that though she breaks forth on the right hand, and on the left, there will be room for them all.” John Gill

enjoying God’s protection (12)

no casualties inside the church

no survivors outside the church

glory throughout (13)

even lowliest place, footstool, will be honorable and glorious

again, because God makes it so

called God’s City because he and his people dwell there – the church (14) (Heb. 12:22-24)

promise to Solomon – “I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (1 Ki. 9:3)

declaration of Paul – “you are the temple of the living God.” (2 Cor. 6:16)

“it is the most desirable place that can be to live in, which is the city of the Lord, which He owns, in which He dwells, in which religion is uppermost.” Matthew Henry

the place of God’s blessing and favor

the joy of generations (15)

when God blesses in way promised, for the long term

generation after generation experience joy of redemption and restoration

knowledge of the Lord…your Savior and Redeemer (16)

people of God will know who delivered them

knowledge of experience, instruction and relationship

characterized by peace and righteousness (17-18)

theme of God’s city – Salvation and Praise

salvation initiated by God is key to citizenship in his city

continual praise is natural behavior of citizens who have experienced his salvation

those who are at peace with God and have received Christ’s righteousness

an everlasting light (19, 20)

no darkness in this dwelling of God’s people – either of day/night or good/evil

God is light and glory and his city takes on his character – pure, righteous

inhabited by a righteous people (21)

those dissatisfied with own unrighteousness

desiring true righteousness

living righteously before God and in his strength

in God’s time (22)

sent the Light into the world in his time

gives awakening light to individuals in his time: “Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray, I woke – the dungeon flamed with light! My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” Charles Wesley

Is that true for you? Has God released you from prison house of sin and are you following the Lord Jesus? Once God has given us the Light he expects us to walk in it – live and think and choose according to God’s rules, not our desires. As you walk in that light, thank and praise the Lord for his grace, doing for you what you could not for yourself. And then tell the world about it- they need to know God’s truth, be released from bondage and brought out of their darkness in sin, and be brought into his marvelous light.

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