Isaiah 9: 2-5 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
The darkness that the prophet Isaiah refers to in our first lesson for the day is the threats that Israel is facing from Assyria. Historically the Assyrian Empire ranks as one of the most powerful empires in the history of the world. It’s empire was wide, it’s army was powerful, and they used terror to vanquish their enemies.
What darkness, what threats hang over us? TERRORISM! ISIS! FINANCIAL WOES! JOB SECUTIRY! FAMILY PROBLEMS! ILLNESS! DEATH! These are the things that worry, that threaten us. And the longer we stumble around in the darkness, the worse these threats, these problems become. We can become emotionally and spiritually crippled by these threats. The problem is that we carry them around like a huge weight.
If you remember A Christmas Carol you will remember that scene where Scrooge meets the ghost of his dead partner Marley. The apparition walks around with a huge and heavy chain wrapped around him. When asked what that chain is, Marley replies this is the chain I forged in life by putting money ahead of anything. Scrooge replies, “But you were a good business man!” And Marley answers, “Mankind was my business!” We let the cares and worries of the world lead us into the darkness.
J. Arthur Rank, an English executive, decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his worry box and forget about it until next Wednesday. The interesting thing was that on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to have worried about them. We all have those times of darkness and if we let it, that darkness can bring us to our knees.
But the Word of God tells us that in the midst of the darkness there is a GREAT LIGHT. The GREAT LIGHT refers to the promise of God to put all things right through the Messiah. In John 8 Jesus said, “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. FOLLOW ME AND YOU WILL NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS AGAIN.”
We are so consumed with the THINGS of this world, that we lose sight of the real problems, the real threat, SIN AND DEATH. The light of the world reveals to us that almost all the worries, all the concerns we have are TEMPORARY. In fact 93% of the things we worry about NEVER EVEN HAPPEN. Of the remaining 7% of the things that do happen, 5% are caused by sources outside of our selves. Of all the things that could happen only 2% are things we have control over.
The problem is that we forget about the real THREATS OF SIN AND DEATH. On facebook the other day I posed a question. We are all getting ready for Christmas, but are we ready for the Christ? How often is the Christ neglected, forgotten, or ignored because we are too busy with the incidentals of life. There are 25 days until the birth of Christ. I would challenge you to spend a half an hour a day in Bible study, in devotions, in prayer, and attend worship every Sunday and Wednesday and in so doing THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD WILL REVEAL TO YOU THAT WITH HIM ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE AND THAT NOTHING, NOT EVEN SIN AND DEATH CAN OVERCOME YOU. AMEN.