Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, July 16, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

01/21/18 Sermon - Walk in the Light of the Lord

“Walk in the Light of the Lord”
Isaiah 2: 1-5

 

Chapter one started the book Isaiah off with a rather grim tone of how the Israelites were behaving. Isaiah described them as rebellious and stubborn, and more concerned with themselves than with God. Chapter two begins with Isaiah introducing himself again, and then describing the last days, where every nation will be coming to the temple of the Lord, and war will cease.
 
Wow! Things have changed.
 
At the start of chapter two Isaiah receives the word of God in some kind of vision, because as we read in verse one, he “saw” this word and it was concerning Judah, the southern kingdom, in particular, and its capital city Jerusalem.
 
Verses 1-3 are repeated by Micah, another prophet in his book, chapter 4:1-3, and this makes sense because both men were prophets at the same time and God is not the author of confusion and the same Spirit was speaking to them both. Obviously trying to get an important point across to the Isrealites.
 
The prophecy begins with, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days…” In this context, the term “latter days” refers to when the Messiah returns.
 
And the Lord’s temple would be established upon a mountaintop. Mount Zion was not the highest mountain, because nearby Mount of Olives was higher. Yet, there is an emphasis on the temple being on a mountain. It could be that in the culture of that day, the ancient belief was that gods lived on the high mountains. Zeus was thought to have lived on Mount Olympus in Greece, and Baal on Mount Cassius in northern Syria.
This text is bringing across the idea that regardless of the height of Mount Zion, this is where humanity would go to find Him.
 
As we continue to read on, we discover in verse 3, exactly what humanity is to find when it gets there. This is where God will teach His ways, so humanity will know how to behave. This pilgrimage to Mount Zion isn’t about gaining power, or some spiritual, mystical union with God. It is a trip to discover how the Creator wants His creation to live. This teaching comes in the format of God’s law, as the word of the Lord. Upon hearing this law and learning from it, the nations will “walk in His ways.” This means they will be submitting to Christ’s Lordship.
 
This is one of those points where it is helpful to understand the language in which this text was written. Submitting to Christ’s Lordship contains the concept of “judgement.” In the Hebrew language the term judgement is not directly translated in English.
In English, it has to do primarily with administration and enforcing the law. Whereas in Hebrew enforcing the law is a part of the definition, there is more. In Hebrew, the concept of judgement has a larger scope, and also has to do with the administration of the whole world, and incorporates the establishment of governmental order throughout the whole world. So for the Hebrew, the idea of God judging the nations, in verse 4, the expected outcome would be harmony. This is where the God who put everything in order in the beginning will be restoring this order. Not only will individuals not have to resort to violence in order to get their needs met, neither will the nations. God’s method of making sure this occurs will not be one of power and might, where God says it so you had better do it or else! This is a time when righteousness will be seen as the norm, where humanity chooses to follow God’s law so there will be no need for war, thus, there will be no more need for weapons of war. In fact, the weapons will be transformed from items that kill, into items of usefulness.
This renewed ruler, Jesus Christ, will wipe out our need for a military budget, and the money that goes towards weapons and armies will be redistributed towards schools and for those in need.
 
Isaiah does give this picture of the glory of the Messiah as a prophecy but he also brings it back to what is happening for the Israelites for that day and challenges Judah, the house of Jacob, to live in a way that recognizes the Messiah’s reign right now. Verse 5 encourages the house of Jacob, “to walk in the light of the LORD.”
 
What does it mean “to walk in the light of the LORD?”
 
Well, according to this passage, it means to live your life in such a way that you are living according to God’s truth and God’s ways.
Let’s face it, do you really think Isaiah, or God for that matter, wants us to wait until Jesus returns to begin walking in God’s ways?
Think about it!
The ultimate reign of the Messiah could be tomorrow or it could be years away! But we can give Jesus Lordship of our lives today. Jesus can reign in our lives, in our minds, and in our hearts right now! We certainly don’t have to wait until some millennium comes around and be enforced into righteousness. We can experience the blessings of Jesus’ righteousness in our lives right now, today! This means we don’t have to live a dark, depressed and discouraged Christian life.
 
We can walk in the light of the LORD!
 
Okay, time to take stock of what’s going on in your life.
 
Is there something in your life that gets you down?
 
That brings darkness into your life?
 
Compare it to the Light of the LORD.
 
Which is greater?
 
The darkness of spiritual attack? Or
            The light of the LORD
 
Unfaithful friends? Or
            The light of the LORD
 
Bad circumstances? Or
            The light of the LORD
 
Shame? Or Guilt? Or
            The light of the LORD
 
Walking in the Light, means reading His Word, and taking what we have read, and living it. Victoriously.
 
This first section of Isaiah 2 aslo demonstrates that biblical faith has a universal character. It took a great deal of faith for Isaiah to proclaim that all nations would one day worship Israel’s God.
Think about it!
At the time of Isaiah there were so many gods and deities, that belonged to so many larger nations, how could this little nation of Judah have the guts to proclaim that their God was the one true God, whom all should worship and that His ways are the ways in which all should walk?
 
Fast forward to the 19th century, it did not seem that unlikely that every nation would be able to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet, then came the 20th Century. What happened?
Christian nations, in Europe and America tried to destroy each other in world wars. Oh dear!
And what do you think the world today thinks about the idea that Israel’s God should become the God of the whole world? Let alone the idea that there should be a universal ethical standard!
Unfortunately, Christians too are taken aback.
We too have taken the attitude that we don’t want to be thought of as arrogant and demanding. The result of this attitude has manifested itself in less younger people giving themselves to foreign missions as a lifelong vocation as well as less money going to fund such endeavors.
 
So what are we to do?
 
Let’s reaffirm the truth of the promises offered in today’s Scripture.
 
God is the God of the whole world. Actually, in fact, He is the only God of the whole world. Believing that means we are not to allow the world to determine and define our faith for us. Think of it this way, persons who can see a lake, are not arrogant to correct the misconceptions of a lake, to those who are blind. Neither should we who know the revelation of God, think ourselves as arrogant to tell someone who has not received this revelation, and could benefit by hearing our testimony.
 
And Let’s follow Isaiah’s plea, and put God’s ways into practice, today, in our own lives. What would the town of Damariscotta look like if all Christians started living a life that was full of grace and nonviolence? What if every Christian reached out to the poor and helpless? What if we spent as much time providing for others as we do to provide for ourselves.
We have plenty of examples to emulate. Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Elizabeth Elliott.
 
We have the power of Christ, to make a difference.
 
Today.
 
Let’s.