When God brought His people into the Promised Land of Israel, they parceled out the land by tribe, or descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob. The descendants of two of his sons, Zebulun and Naphtali, were given land on the west and northwest of the Sea of Galilee, the area where Jesus would one day live out much of His ministry.
Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus to this region with a prophecy:
1…The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali…in Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:1b-2 NKJV
The thing about darkness is that it quickly dissipates whenever light is present. Even a single candle has a tremendous effect upon a dark room.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was no stranger to darkness, much of it a consequence of poor choices they had made. We, too, may live or have lived in such a lonely and dark place, devoid of warmth and love, living only to survive rather than thriving on the joy of life.
It is often into the darkest places where God will bring His greatest light. His presence brings with it forgiveness, freedom and an unconditional love that touches every part of our soul.
Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Old Testament law that men and women were unable to keep on their own. One time, some religious leaders brought before Him a woman caught in adultery and asked Him if she should be stoned to death, as a strict application of Moses’ law would require.
Jesus acted at first as if He did not hear them and wrote something with His finger in the dust of the ground at their feet.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7 NKJV
One by one, the woman’s accusers were convicted by their own sin, and beginning with the oldest, turned and walked away. When they were all gone, Jesus asked the woman if any were left to accuse her. She said no, and Jesus told her that He would not accuse her, either, and that she should go and sin no more.
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 NKJV
A great Light had come into the woman’s life that day, as well as into the hearts of her accusers. We have all broken the laws of Moses at one time or another, and it is only right that we forgive others their transgressions the same way that God has forgiven ours.
Without God in our lives, there is only spiritual darkness. Many false gods will come along and promise to light our way, but only God’s true Light will give us real life, eternal and full.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4 NKJV
What darkness threatens me in my own life today? Where do I have loneliness, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, or despair?
Lord Jesus, shine Your light and love into my life today. Scatter the darkness that threatens to bring me down. Lift away the burdens of despair and help me to follow You along a journey of joy, walking in the Light of the World. Heal the brokenness and restore to me a full and satisfying life in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.