Remember what the two main themes of the book of Isaiah are? The first is the punishment of Israel for their turning away from God and His righteousness. The second is the saving grace of Jesus Christ, who comes to save all people from their sins. In chapter 9, we have a unique description of both of these ideas.
Verses 1-7 describe the coming Christ and all the ways He will bless and save the people. Being in the darkness of sin, Christ will come to shed the light of forgiveness and righteousness upon the people. Even though the Israelites are God’s chosen people, the salvation that Jesus offers will be for all men:
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
The idea of darkness and light is explored here and is a perfect analogy for us on whether we live in the darkness of sin or in the light of God’s Word. In Isaiah 9:2, there is a description of walking in darkness and seeing light:
“The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2
This light is God’s grace and mercy, the grace and mercy He exercised when He sent His only son Jesus to die for us. The light is also righteousness and love, it is the light of purity and honesty, the light that others see in us as we live righteously for Him. It is the light of kindness, mercy, peace and forgiveness.
The ideas of darkness and light to describe good and evil are not new to us. In fact we might conclude that the origin of good and evil as light and darkness is from God’s Word. There are passages all throughout the Bible that explain sin and righteousness in terms of light and darkness. Often, too, darkness is an idea used to express ignorance, while light is used to express understanding.
Please read these brief passages below to further understand and meditate on what it means to live in the light as opposed to living in darkness:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” Ephesians 5:8
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:5-7
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”” Ephesians 5:8-14
In verses 8-21, the chapter describes the folly of Israel and the punishment they will receive as other nations conquer them. Even as Israel is punished for their sins, they will not turn to God, but will remain in their errant ways. The whole nation will suffer and God will punish them further as they continue in their sin despite the punishment.
Sometimes as we experience the consequences of our behavior, we tend to dig in to our position before we admit we are wrong. One might call it human nature or foolish pride. In either case, it is a mistake and only hurts us.
True freedom comes when we admit our sin, and walk from the darkness to the light.