Monday, June 24, 2013

From Darkness to Light

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

ISAIAH 49: 1-9

The Servant" appears here "as a light to the nations." Footnotes indicate that scholars are divided: Is the Servant Israel? Is the Servant an individual promised in Israel's future? Because the New Testament applies the Servant lan­guage to Jesus, we also freely apply this language originally intended for Israel to the community of faith in Jesus Christ.

Those aware that they belong to a people are often exclusive. For them, having a covenant means keeping oth­ers away. Many in Israel often did so; many who are called Christian still do. When they did and we do, shadows result, leaving others in darkness. Meanwhile, though the light is available to us, we show that we are in darkness.

"I will give you as a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" is the ancient promise made new this day. Only a few readers of this devotion will be pondering it in today's Israel. The vast majority of us are doing so in faith because the light has reached "to the end of the earth."

Talking about light is not the same thing as realizing it and being in it. In the Book of Acts, two light-bringers, Paul and Barnabas, quote this verse from Isaiah with this intent: to make all glad. And why? Salvation has come. Salvation means rescue from darkness to light, from fear to freedom, from being self-enclosed to being free to serve others among all nations-beginning, as it were, next door.

Salvation may sound like a word from ancient times or gets sounded among people who over repeat the question: "Are you saved?" Yet it speaks to our day, our need, our search for light.

Saving God, let your ancient promises live today among the people of Israel, among believers in Christ, and in our ears, to reach our hearts afresh this day. Amen.
--Martin E. Marty, Believe, Dakotas Ann Conf

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

No comments: