Worth Dying For – Destroy (Isaiah 59)
1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
17 …I will make peace your governor
and well-being your ruler.
18 No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
19 The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
22 and I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
And so we respond:
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
25 Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
19 and so This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us –
2 so that His ways may be known on earth,
His salvation among all nations.
In darkness, you lose your way, you lose your orientation, you lose your sense of perspective, you bump into things and get frustrated and hurt and angry, you feel alone, you have no sense of your surroundings; where you are or where you are going or where you could even end up.
Fear grips you, panic overwhelms you, you are ready to fight or run but the imaginary enemy is unseen and there is no exit to run toward. Anxiety grips you and your heart starts to race.
Living in darkness is not living at all.
The only consolation of living in the darkness is that what you are to others is whatever you choose to reveal to them; even if untrue. This sense of concealment and the ability to hide finally brings a sense of comfort and control where there otherwise would be none.
However, that comfort is short lived as you realize that others are also in concealment and they also may not be who they claim to be or what they claim to be.
Then, someone comes along and invites you out of your darkness and into a place of light. They share that there is only one place of true and complete freedom; only one place where life can fully be lived; in the light and they know the way to it.
There you stand on the threshold of the darkness that you have always known and this new experience in the light. To those living in the light, the choice is obvious, why even delay?
However, in the light, there is only truth. To step into the light is to leave behind the lies and deceit that brought the only comfort and control that you have ever known. To step into the light is to bring full revelation of who we truly are. To step into the light is to surrender control.
Yes, the light of God exposes what is hidden in our lives. However, that exposure is not intended to shame us or condemn us or embarrass us, but to set us free!
It’s much like God’s design within our bodies to experience pain. It’s not really that God wants to hurt us, it’s just His way of revealing to us that something isn’t right and needs dealt with.
When I lost my big toe in a mowing accident, the surgeon intentionally routed a nerve over the tip of my stub. Now when I stub it on the edge of my bed, I HATE that he left that nerve there! It hurts WAY, WAY worse than it does when I stub any other toe.
However, he said that it is ultimately for my good and benefit. If no nerve ending was left there, I could stub my toe, split it open (because it does cut very easily), and end up bleeding out before I would realize that it was happening unless I felt that pain.
A few times, I somehow scraped the top of my no-toe where there are no nerve endings and only realized it because I noticed the blood trail behind me. Pain is a good thing!
When the light of Christ reveals sin and other weaknesses and shortcomings in our lives, it is for our good. It may not feel good, it may not feel loving, and we may not like it at the time, but it truly is ultimately for our own good. After all, sin leads to death!
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Jesus doesn’t want to cover up our issues, concealing them with darkness once again. That would be to enable us to slowly and quietly die. Jesus wants us to experience abundant life to its full in His glorious light! Because Jesus loves us, He will reveal to us our temptations, our fleshly weaknesses, our sin, and the dead things in our lives.
Dark fluid/Clear fluid illustration
Why? Because Jesus wants to show us the way out of our temptations, to be the strength in our weaknesses, to forgive our sin, and to resurrect every area of our lives! He wants us to live in His glorious light and to be a beacon of hope for those still living in darkness!
The Lord cannot heal without revealing our sickness or disease.
The Lord cannot restore without taking account of what was stolen and our loss.
The Lord cannot deliver without exposing the chains that bind us.
The Lord cannot forgive offenses without pointing out our sin.
If He reveals it, it is for our ultimate good.
If He reveals it, He wants to do a work on it.
If He reveals it, a testimony is in the making.
If He reveals it, His goodness is coming our way in place of it!
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
1 Timothy 5:24-25
24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.
When our sin is revealed, it may be tempting to run back to the darkness. We may want to draw a curtain or blanket of darkness over that area of our lives to conceal it once again. However, God is revealing it for our good. He wants to forgive it from our past, remove it from our present, and replace it with good things in our future!
When those still living in darkness tries to entice you back into hiding, refuse to settle for anything less than your full potential!
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
Walk away from that crowd still living in darkness and toward Jesus. Trust your life into His hands and see what masterpiece the potter has planned to transform your life into! Let His light shine through you and invite those still living in darkness to see what the Lord as done in your life. Invite them to do the same!
24 “The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
As we proceed out into this world of darkness, let the light of Christ shine brightly through your lives. May His Presence shine through your life as a warm invitation to all those still living in darkness to boldly step out into the light and be forever transformed by Jesus.
Let’s sing together this blessing over our own lives, over the lives of those here, over the lives of our community, and over our world.
Kari Jobe – The Blessing