Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
Isaiah was addressing the Israelites who returned to Jerusalem to find the city in ruins. The temple was gone and the city walls were destroyed. The economic condition was really bad. Isaiah’s words were a positive and encouraging prophecy to a people who were disheartened and devastated by the state of the land they returned to. He encouraged the people at that time to trust in the Lord so that everything would be all right. “The Lord will arise upon you and His glory will appear over you.”
This is a timely reading to start us off in the New Year. It is a message of hope and encouragement — especially during times like these.
When we look at the world today, events are taking place which are a source of concern for us. Once again, Christians are being persecuted and so many countries are facing wars and civil and political turmoil. More importantly, materialism and consumerism seem to govern our society, overtaking the sense of morality and values that were once so important.
But let us not be disheartened. God is with us — He has never left us. Though we experience hardships and challenges, He is always there to lift us up, to hold our hands in times of extreme difficulty. There is nothing that we cannot handle when we call on Him for help. When what we are doing is in obedience to God’s Word, you can be sure that He will be there to lend us a helping hand, to support us in the task that we are trying to accomplish.
When we look around us, we see evidence of God being with us. We marvel at the beauty of nature, we listen to the singing of the birds, we see evidence of man’s intelligence in the modern structures and inventions around us. God is indeed with us. He provides for us!
When I believe that God is with me, there is no reason for me to be sad, or angry or afraid. He is there for me! I cannot go around feeling defeated for I am being supported by my God who loves me! So whenever I face a challenge, I am still able to smile and be happy because that difficult stuff? My God will take care of that for me! Believe me, it works! Sometimes we just need to relinquish our control over the things we cannot handle anyway — we just need to stop worrying. Worrying will just prevent us from enjoying the gifts that God has given us today!