We have a friend in the bible named Isaiah. Poor guy, sometimes a direct line to God is costly. In his book we see that God was looking for someone to deliver some hard words to his people. Isaiah had an incredible encounter with God involving an angel and some coal (Isa. 6) and after this experience, he told the Lord “I’ll go, send me.” So God took Isaiah at his word and began to give him messages to deliver to His children. One message was that God was going to destroy some of Israel because of their disobedience. Ugh, don’t you know Isaiah had an ulcer after that one! However, Isaiah also got to deliver the most amazing message to the people: he prophesied of the arrival of the Rescuer, the Messiah, Jesus!
Isaiah 7: 14 – “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel-God is with us.”
As we move on to chapter 9, we see that God was using destruction as a means of preparing the way for Christ. He says in Isaiah 8:22 “Wherever they look there will be dark despair.” Then in 9:2, “The people who walk in great darkness will see a great light.” A wise friend once told me, you can’t know light until you have seen the darkness. This resonated with me, and I think it gives insight into this passage. The destruction and darkness that occurs here prepared the hearts of the people for the great Light that was to come. The MSG version of Isaiah 9:2 says, “For those who lived in a land of deep shadows-light, sunbursts of light.” And in vs. 3, “They will shout with joy like warriors.”
I am personally coming out of a season of darkness. I have been stuck in this land of deep shadows for quite some time now. However, I didn’t realize how dark it was until I saw the light.
About 3 weeks ago, I processed what I think was the remainder of a heavy load of grief over the life and death of my father. I’ll save those details for another time, but grief unresolved breaks your spirit and “a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Prov. 17:22.
The same wise friend I mentioned earlier, pointed out to me that I seemed stuck. As I pondered and prayed over this, the Holy Spirit was so gracious to me and walked me thru a time of recognizing the depth of my grief. This grief that I had been carrying for many years had “dried up my bones.” God began to heal my heart, and I’ve noticed those dry places are changing. There is more laughter, more joy, more room in my heart to love. Grief had taken a sectional sofa and sat right down in the center of my heart, my spirit. Now that it’s gone, there is more room for everyone else!
There is a crazy story in the Bible that God brought to mind as I was thinking through this post. Take a minute and read Ezekiel 37: 1-14. God takes his man, Ezekiel, to a valley of dry bones and brings life to these bones! These bones represent the people of Israel. They are still struggling, and God is still loving them. They have told the Lord, “We have become old dry bones-all hope is gone.” Here is a great song about this passage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7PUW1olxx8
I can so relate to these Israelites. I have walked in the shadows and felt my old dry bones ache. I have wondered why I was living a half-life. After asking God to reveal what was keeping me stuck, He shed light on what the enemy was keeping so dark.
God has sent his son for us all as a Rescuer. To rescue us from our despair, our deep shadows and bring life to those dry places.
Isaiah gives us another amazing prophesy of what Christ will do for us. Isaiah 61:2-3 “He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
What parts of your life are covered in a shadow? What parts are dry and ache? Take a minute and ask God to shed light on areas that the enemy wants to keep dark.
And of course I want you to write it down because you know it will be a good word!