SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This passage opens with a call to Jerusalem to get up and recognize that God is with them and will restore them. At the time, the Israelites were in captivity and this passage is an announcement that the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. The historical context tied to this passage is understood as the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when they assisted with the city-wide restoration.
- Verses 4-14 depict how mighty and impressive Jerusalem will be through a wide array of metaphors and imagery. Verse 15 brings up that the people and city were completely hated and abandoned but because of God, they would now be redeemed. Several references to God's light are made, specifically in verses 1-3 and verses 19-20. God is described as the only light that exists and is needed in the darkness. All other sources of light are temporary but it is said that God's light will live on forever.
- While this chapter prophesies on one specific historical event, the principles underneath can still apply. The specific verses on God's light are some of the most important to understand. God wants His light to shine through us. He wants us to be a reflection of His goodness and to project that onto others. God makes a promise that His light will never dim out which should give us even more hope that God is almighty and will never fail us. In addition, God mentions how dark the world currently is and that the darkness will naturally be attracted to the light and follow.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you consider yourself a light to the world? Do you live out a life that shines God's light so others can see and experience it? God is the ultimate light and wants us to be a reflection of that. If you take time out of your day to spend with God, reflecting Him and His goodness will simply be a by-product.