Darkness Then

The times were dark. It had been over 730 years since the people had been humbled by Assyrian invaders, and now they lived under Roman rule.

People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.

Isaiah 8:20b-22 NLT

Isaiah had predicted their demise, but had also promised hope.

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, BUT . . .

Isaiah 9:1a NLT

Four hundred years had passed since God last spoke to the people through the prophets. In that time, they had been ruled by six different governments. Now they carried the burdens of Roman law tied with countless regulations piled high by their religious leaders.

Would God ever speak to them again? Would He be silent forever? Did He even care about His people anymore? Would He keep His promise?

. . . there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

Isaiah 9:1b-2

How long would they wait to have the longing of their hearts fulfilled?

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Morning Begins to Break

There were a few people who had insight into the times, and could see the dawn approaching.

Zechariah, whose son would grow to be the one chosen to prepare the way for the Messiah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).

Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit to the Temple the day baby Jesus was presented to the Lord. He held Him and praised God: He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of your people Israel!” (Luke 2:32) Simeon had been waiting and looking for the promised Messiah, and was now happy to die in peace.

The shepherds out in the fields of Bethlehem saw the light before they heard the news or saw the baby! “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger'” (Luke 2:8-12).

The Light of the World had arrived, softly and tenderly, like the first gleaming wisps of morning.

Dayspring had come.

Darkness Now

The times are dark. News of war, disease, disaster and death weigh heavily on our minds. We long for peace on earth, along with an end to suffering.

Jesus promised that He would return . . . “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26) . . . but it’s been over 2,000 years since He walked the earth.

We have the words of Revelation, which promise the New Jerusalem, where “the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light (Revelation 21:23).

“No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).

Will He keep His promises? How long will we have to wait to see His words fulfilled?

We sing with longing in our hearts,

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Waiting for the Morning

How do we live between now and then? Thankfully Scripture has a lot to say about that! Here are a few encouraging words to put into practice.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 8:12

Following the Light of Jesus helps us navigate through the darkness of this world.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:14-16

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7

We carry the Light of Jesus with us wherever we go, ready to shine brightly for others who remain in darkness.

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Ephesians 5:8-9

May your light shine brightly as you follow the Light of the world and expectantly await His return!

Edited Photo by Alessio Soggetti on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Dayspring”

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