by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress ... For to us a child is born, to us a son is given" (Isa. 9:1, 6).
The whole book of Isaiah is a mixture of gloom and glory. In this passage the contrast is particularly stark. The end of chapter 8 is pitch black: the people have lost God's way; they consult spiritists, and they are about to be "thrust into utter darkness."
Then comes the prophecy of everlasting hope, pinned on the birth of the Messiah. "There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress." Hope is dawning for people in "the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali"—that is, the region of "Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea."
Notice that the prophet is talking about northern Palestine, although he lives in the southern part. He speaks at Jerusalem and to the people of Judah about Galilee. He talks about a land that's already invaded by the Assyrians. But his eyes see something that you and I can now understand in a way that his original audience could not: Near the Sea of Galilee a light will shine that will never go out. For Jesus will honor this land and this lake with his ministry.
Seven centuries later Matthew writes: "Leaving Nazareth, he [Jesus] went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake ... to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali ...
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light" (Matt. 4:13–16)
All who stay in this light will never get lost.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version