Transformation Meditations: 5. Darkness?
Isa 61:1b He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners
The work of the Messiah, we said, is to transform us, to redeem us, to save us, and we are looking at some of the aspects of his mandate in Isaiah 61 and reiterated by Jesus in Luke 4. Previously we considered the broken-hearted, captives and prisoners. Now we need to consider darkness.
There is a specific prison that is referred to here. In a sense the other prisons we referred to are legitimate but this characteristic needs special attention – darkness. Isaiah, speaking about Galilee prophesied, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isa 9:1,2 reiterated in Mt 4:15,16) Now why was Galilee in the north of Canaan referred to as being a place of darkness?
First, it may be that being furthest away from the Temple in Jerusalem, the presence of the Lord seemed weakest, if I may put it like that. His light, His glory, seemed at a distance. There are some for whom the presence of the Lord always seems at a distance. You hear it spoken of, but it is mere words.
Second, Galilee being in the north was always the first to bear the brunt of the enemy invaders that so often came from the countries of the north; they were more vulnerable than the south. There are some who, for a variety of reasons, feel more vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.
Third, because of that, there would be what can only be described as a dread of what might be coming. It only need a whisper, a rumour, that countries to the north are arming and a dread would fall afresh. There are some who live with a sense of fear, of dread of what ‘might’ happen. The enemy has imposed a sense of insecurity and you almost expect the worst.
What is the answer to these three things that bring a darkness to our hearts and minds? It has to be, first of all, the truth, the word of God. The Lord is with you and for you (Rom 8:31) and will never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5) and is working for your good (Rom 8:28). He has plans and purposes for you (Eph 2:10), plans that are good (Jer 29:11). He loves you (1 Jn 4:4,16) and sent Jesus to die specifically for you as an expression of His love for you (Jn 3:16,17) so that now you are a child of God (1 Jn 3:1) This is the truth. Stand before a mirror every morning and declare these truths. Copy the verses our and declare them every morning.
Second, it has to be the presence of His own Holy Spirit who does indwell you (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19) if you are a Christian, born again of His Spirit (Jn 3:3-8), and He is your inner resource if you will listen to Him, to His words of encouragement and affirmation, but it will mean resisting the lies of the enemy: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (Jas 4:7,8) He HAS come to release you from darkness (Isa 61:1, Col 1:13). We are children of light (1Thess 5:5) and so darkness – fear, dread etc. – is to no longer be part of our lives. May it be so.