May 18 | Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 4-6; John 6:1-21
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
READ ISAIAH 9:2–6
LISTEN ONLINEIn the mid-1960s, two people participated in research on the effects of darkness on the human psyche. They entered separate caves, while researchers tracked their eating and sleeping habits. One remained in total darkness for 88 days, the other 126 days. Each guessed how long they could remain in darkness and were off by months. One took what he thought was a short nap only to discover he’d slept for 30 hours. Darkness is disorienting.
The people of God found themselves in the darkness of impending exile. They waited, unsure of what would take place. The prophet Isaiah used darkness as a metaphor for their disorientation and as a way of speaking about God’s judgment (Isaiah 8:22). Previously, the Egyptians had been visited with darkness as a plague (Exodus 10:21-29). Now Israel found herself in darkness.
But a light would come. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). Oppression would be broken, disorientation would end. A Child would come to change everything and bring about a new day—a day of forgiveness and freedom (v. 6).
Jesus did come! And although the darkness of the world can be disorienting, may we experience the comfort of the forgiveness, freedom, and light found in Christ.
By Glenn Packiam
REFLECT & PRAY
Dear Jesus, shine Your light into my life. Bring forgiveness and freedom. Help me to live in the light of Your arrival.
What would it look like to embrace a new day of freedom and forgiveness? How can you welcome the light of Christ today?
In the Old Testament, the word yoke is often used to describe the bondage or slavery the Israelites suffered while under the oppressive rule of the Egyptians, Assyrians, and others. Again and again we see God’s promises to lift this heavy yoke (Exodus 6:6-7; Leviticus 26:13; Isaiah 14:25; Jeremiah 30:8; Ezekiel 34:27). In today’s prophecy from Isaiah 9:4, we read of the lifting of another yoke. In his commentary on Isaiah, Edward Young describes this yoke as “the heavy burden of sin and corruption, of departure from God, and of the evil consequences of such departure.” This spiritual battle was won by the child (Jesus, v. 6), who through His death and resurrection delivers all who believe in Him from the burdensome yoke of sin. Now that we’ve been set free, the apostle Paul encourages us to “stand firm” and not “be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Alyson Kieda