ARISE, SHINE, FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME,
AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD HAS RISEN UPON YOU.
Isaiah 60 was written to a group of people who were experiencing the gap between expectations and experience. Whenever expectations collide with reality, we always have a choice. We can choose to lower the level of our expectations and "settle." And sometimes we do. We "settle" for lifeless relationships, soul-draining jobs, perpetual debt, or, a relationship with God that looks nothing like what we read about in the Gospels, the book of Acts or the Epistles.
We can also blame shift. Blame, rationalizations, self-justification and self-pity are other ways we sometimes respond when our experience doesn't match the level of our expectations.
But there's another choice we can make! We can choose to trust God and trust God's heart. We can choose to worship. We can choose to respond with a fierce and determined faith that says, "I refuse to allow my circumstances and experience to determine and dictate my destiny! Only the Word of God has the power to do that!"
Circumstances and experiences can't determine and dictate YOUR destiny! Only the Word of God has the power to do that!
In Isaiah 60, God spoke to a nation that felt as if it was as good as dead and said, “Your current circumstances will not write the final word in your story! My Word will write the final word in your story! And the word I am speaking over you is not 'death', it is 'life' and 'resurrection'!”
Check out Verse 1 in Isaiah 60: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
That's a command, not a suggestion!
God basically says, “Get up! It’s time for you to get sick and tired of being sick and tired! Get up! It’s time for you to determine that you will no longer choose to settle! Get up! It’s time for you to determine that you don’t have to live the rest of your life on spiritual life support! Get up! It's time for you to believe that your best years are before you not behind you! Get up!"
It's important to remember that whenever God gives us a command, He also gives us the power and ability to respond to that command.
Whenever God gives us a command, He always gives us the power to respond to that commanD.
“Arise, shine!” These words were to a nation on the ropes; a nation that was hanging on by a thread. But God says, “Arise!" Get up! Wake up! Look up!
This is consistent with another command that shows up in Psalm 24:7 and 9: “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in.”
Get up! Wake up! Look up! Stop looking down! What you need is not "down there," it's "up here!"
It's time for us to stop lowering our standards and the level of our expectations! It's time to stop dreaming small dreams and thinking small thoughts! Get up! It’s time to arise and shine! Take expectant action! It's time for us to start acting like we believe we have a destiny! It's time for us to remember this has never been about what we can do. This has always been about what God has already purposed and planned to do! Get up!
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you." —Isaiah 60:1-2
Light in the Bible is a symbol of the presence of God.
In John 8:12 and John 9:5 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world."
But what's staggering is that in Matthew 5:14, Jesus looked at his followers, (he basically looked at you and me), and said, "YOU are the light of the world!"
The "glory of God" in the Bible is the active presence of God working in, among and through His people!
Sometimes Christians talk and act as if the darkness in this world will somehow overpower and overwhelm light! But that isn't possible. Darkness is just the absence of light. But whenever light — even the slightest amount of it — collides with darkness, light overcomes and overwhelms darkness every time!
Whenever light — even the slightest amount of it — collides with darkness, light overcomes and overwhelms darkness every time!
Your neighborhood, office or workplace may be "dark!" You have one assignment! It's not to rail against the darkness. Our assignment is to SHINE!
When I was growing up, sometimes my parents would wake me with these words, "Rise and shine!" I usually didn't feel like "rising." And "shining" would be a really generous description when it came to my morning attitude.
But this is essentially what God says to us when our experience doesn't jive with our expectations. He says, "Don't lower your standards or your expectations! Don't choose to settle! Don't ditch your faith! Instead, get up! Rise and shine!"