Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
60 Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3 Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
“Rise and shine!” If that phrase doesn’t make you cringe; if it doesn’t make you want to throw something at the door and yell “get out!” – well, I have to break it to you: you’re one of those cheerful morning people that the rest of us resent. “Rise and shine” usually implies a burden; get up and make breakfast, go to school, go to work – or at the very least, put some clothes on.
When Isaiah wrote these words – roughly 700 years before Jesus’ birth – they weren’t just annoying, they were shocking and virtually unbelievable. The people of Israel heard these words as they were living under the dark storm clouds of war and the gloomy shadow of exile in Babylon. These people were miserable, they were worried, they had resigned themselves to live in captivity and then die. And Isaiah has the gall to come along and say “rise and shine!” Why? Why should they look up from the misery of their exile? Why should they rise and shine when everything – their land, their temple, their freedom, their homes – had been taken from them? Because the long-promised Messiah – the Christ, the Savior – will come! He will come in spite of the storms and shadows, the gloom and doom that swirled around them. The people of Israel could rise and shine in spite of their present circumstances because God had promised to send a Savior to rescue them from their circumstances.
Clearly, we live in a different day and age than the people Isaiah first wrote to. But isn’t it true that storms and shadows, gloom and doom still fill our world and lives today? Short days and bitter cold keep us locked indoors. Trials and troubles still disrupt our lives. Wars and rumors of wars still paint the headlines. It’s very easy to become resigned and depressed. We need Isaiah’s encouragement just as much as the Israelites did too: Rise and Shine; see the Son shining on you!
Father, thank you for this encouragement to “rise and shine” in spite of our present circumstances because our God has promised to send a Savior to rescue us! May we be encouraged by these words of hope!
Go with God!