What is your posture?
Matt. 4:16 the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”
Jesus’ life was the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Isaiah. This text in Matthew is a quotation from Isaiah but with a significant change:
Is. 9:2 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.
In Isaiah the people are walking in darkness and they are living in the land, but by the time Matthew brings us this word, the people are sitting in darkness and sitting in the region. No longer have they sought the face of God, but instead they have chosen to sit and to wallow in their ignorance.
What a huge difference between sitting and walking. Walking certainly brings about the imagery of those who are seeking God and actively engaged in the process. The ones who are sitting? They seem to have given up and are content to simply stop trying, sit down and live with exactly that which has been handed to them.
Do you ever just feel like giving up? Things have gotten too difficult and too out of hand to try and make anything different. This scripture also suggests that the Israelites had become satisfied in their ignorance. Why bother with trying to get to know God, we’ll just sit here and live with what has been handed to us.
I’m afraid that too many of us are living in ignorance these days. Maybe it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a moving of God’s Holy Spirit in and among the lives of people, bringing about a real spiritual transformation. Could it be possible that is happening because we are sitting? I would like to suggest that God’s people must become active in his work, walking and moving and constantly seeking his face.
Looking closely at the text, the ones in Isaiah who we’re walking and living had light shining on them. The uncreated light of God was able to transform their lives, and while they had lived in darkness, now life was illuminated. This was the promise of God.
As Jesus appeared so the light would appear. To those who had given up all hope and had simply sat down in the darkness, those with no hope, the light had dawned. You see, God in his mercy has never given up on his people. He continues to seek out those who may be sitting in darkness without hope and his light dawns on them. The light is going into the dark corners of the world.
Now we can understand how we become active participants in God’s work in the world. When the light of Jesus shines on us, then we become reflections of his image. The way that the light of God can shine on those sitting in darkness is for us to take that light to them. The light will dawn on them in the dark places of this world when we unite with Christ in his work, reflecting the light of his image on those sitting in darkness.
What is our posture today? Are we among those who are sitting, or those who are standing? If you have chosen to sit in the darkness and the pain is more than you can bear, cry out to God for the light to dawn on you leading you out of your darkness and into his light. This is his promise, to bring us out to safety. If you are walking today, then be a great reflection of the light, allowing his light to shine into the place where there are those who are hurt and are sitting in the darkness. Either way, it’s time to move, it’s time to take action, moving closer to the One who came to show us the way back home and to the safety of his loving arms.
Lord, may I be actively engaged in reflecting you today. Amen.