See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
If, like me, you’re a lover of Handel’s Messiah, then you can’t read Isaiah 60:2-3 without hearing them in your mind sung by a deep bass voice: “For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
In its original setting, this prophecy of Isaiah emphasized the worldwide impact of the Lord’s blessing of Israel. As God revealed his glory to and through Israel, this glory would be reflected to all the nations, who would be drawn to Jerusalem in order to see the light of God. Thus, God would fulfill his promise to Abraham to bless all the peoples of the earth through him and his nation (Gen 12:2).
This is exactly what began to happen in Jesus Christ. As we read in John’s gospel: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus, the ultimate revelation of God’s glorious grace, was the Savior, not just of Israel, but also of the whole world. People from all nations have come—and are coming—to experience God’s glory through him.
Our passage from Isaiah 60 reminds us that we are to reflect God’s glory into the dark world around us. As we communicate God’s truth, as we reach out with his love, as we offer forgiveness and mercy, as we live and speak and work differently, people will see God’s glory through us and be drawn to him. That is an essential element of our high calling as Christians. We’re to reflect God’s glory wherever we are, in every quarter of our world.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
When have you experienced God’s glory?
How do you reflect God’s glory in your part of the world? In your work? Family? Neighborhood? Church?
What could you do today to reflect God’s glory more completely?
All praise be to you, O God, because you are glorious beyond all measure!
All praise be to you, gracious God, for you have revealed your glory to us!
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for you are the ultimate revelation of God’s glory!
Help me, dear Lord, to see more of your glory, that my mind and heart might be filled with awe and wonder!
Help me, glorious Lord, to reflect your glory in this world, so that people might be drawn to you!
In the name of Jesus, the glorious Word of God, Amen.