Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.
All right. We’re going to be looking this morning at Isaiah chapter nine. If you want to look there in your Bibles, uh, Isaiah chapter nine, we’re going to look at verse one and two, and then jump down to verse six. Oh, and I can take this off.
Thank you for figuring that. Goodness. Um, did you understand that? I said Isaiah chapter nine. Okay. I say chapter nine, we’re going to be looking verses one and two. And then at verse six. Here’s what we read, but there will be no gloom for her who was an anguish in the former time, he brought into contempt, the land of Zebulun and the land of NAFTA lie.
But in the latter time, he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan Galilee of the nations, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness on them has light shown. Jumping down to verse six for, to us, a child is born to us. A son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder.
And his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace. Right?
Lord, we come to you this morning in a season of life, which. Does feel dark? Um, it feels wearing, it feels confusing for many. It has been a season of adversity. And Lord, we come to remember him who is the light and God, I pray as we reflect on what these verses are saying. I pray that you would teach us that you would dress more deeply to drink in the well of worship and enjoyment of Jesus in whose name I pray.
Amen. The whole context of Isaiah chapter eight and nine is talking about the nation of Israel and particularly the nation of Judah, the Southern tribes, who were in a period of darkness and gloom. So matter of fact, at the end of, of Isaiah eight, the verses just before the ones I read, it says this. And they will look to the earth, but behold distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, they will be thrust into thick darkness.
This is the scene. People are living in a time of darkness and gloominess. And this metaphor is one that is the foundation to the promise that a light will come, that will dispel darkness. What I’d like to think this morning, and then we’re going to, it’s going to form the basis of our study this morning is to think about the metaphor of darkness because throughout the scripture, this metaphor is used in our lives.
And it’s talking about how God enters our life too, bell, our darkness, but there are three metaphors, three senses of the metaphor of darkness that I think are you used not only biblically, but psychologically, and that. We, we sense in our own lives. Number one, when we talk about darkness, we’re talking about a lack of sight that you put out your headlights in a dark light, a dark night, and you can’t drive because you have no capacity to see a lack of sight is a prominent sense of the metaphor of darkness.
A second one is lack of security. We fear the dark. We feel afraid far more and unsafe because of unknown dangers at nighttime. Right? I mean, you, you, you don’t see kids that are particularly concerned about what’s under the bed and the afternoon nap or what might be lurking somewhere else. The, the concept is nighttime can be scarier because.
It’s darker. The third aspect of darkness as a metaphor is that it refers to a lack of hope. This is actually the one that is particularly used here. And Isaiah eight and nine, we talk about she’s in a dark place. He’s man, it’s a dark mood he’s bringing today. The sense of darkness is manifested in all those three things.
And that’s going to be what we look at this morning, but you’ll notice here. There is a promised light here and in other passages of the scripture and it is not a, what. It’s a hoop. Here’s what he says to people who walked in darkness. And in verse two have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness on them has light shown.
Verse six for to us, a child is born. To us a son is given Matthew quotes, this passage in Matthew chapter four, when he’s, when he is a situation where Jesus is going into the very regions of Zebulun and Naphtali that are recorded here. And he says this in Matthew chapter four, Jesus went and lived in Capernaum so that what was spoken by the prophet, Isaiah might be fulfilled.
The people dwelling in darkness. Have seen a great light. And for those willing in this region and shadow of death on them, a light has dawned. It’s not a what, it’s a who now this is tremendously important. And frankly, very exciting when we think of the culture in which we live, many authors are today writing about a shift in understanding of spirituality within our culture.
The spirituality has rejected scientism the idea of science and reason being what we need more of a secularist pick perspective, this new spirituality though, which is a really heightened spirituality, also rejects what we might call moralism or religiosity. Um, Many people will say to you. I’m sure.
Probably every person in this room and every way worse working in line, who’s talked to somebody that has said, yeah, I I’m, I’m a spiritual person, but I’m not religious. And there are more nones that are answering the question. What religion are you than at any time in American history, people are rejecting religion.
And yet there is this explosive. Spirituality or interest in spiritual things in our culture. This can be a tremendously exciting thing. As we think of biblical truth for the gospel says, come meet a person, come and see Jesus. Jesus directs attention to himself, not to a religion, to a relationship. Jean twinge.
The professor of psychology at San Diego university state university wrote the book, the me generation. And in that particular study, actually not only that study, but in the writings at large, she argues that the, that this very emphasis of evangelical Christianity is what accounts for its growth among young adults today.
The concept of a faith. That is ultimately a relationship. This is biblical Christianity. This is what it is about. It is about a person it’s about relating to a person. It’s not a dogma. It’s not a religion. Ultimately it’s a relationship. And this person came to dispel darkness. And these three things that are involved in this metaphor or what I want to just look at quickly this morning.
The first of those is that Jesus dispels darkness by giving us sight in Jesus. We see CS Lewis famously said in his, in his book. Um, well actually it was a speech that he gave at Oxford university and he made this statement about Christ. He said, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the son has risen.
Not only because I see it. But because by it, I see everything else. This is exactly what is, is involved in this statement that Jesus himself is light. It, isn’t only seeing him. It’s seeing everything else as a result of knowing him and doing life with him. The light of Jesus gives us Ives new eyes to see things.
The light changes the way you look at God. This is one of the intentions of Jesus coming the world and coming into our lives. The incarnation of Jesus is designed to help us see God, the incarnation form from two words in the original end, meaning in a Carness in the flesh, he came in the flesh, God came in the flesh that we could, we could see God, he could be a light to us.
In her, in her writing, the greatest drama ever staged. Dorothy Sayers says it this way. The incarnation means that for whatever reason, God chose to let us fall to suffer, to be subject to sorrows and death. He has nonetheless had the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine. He can exact nothing from man that he is not exacted from himself.
He himself has gone through the whole of human experience from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. He was born in poverty and suffered infinite pain all for us. And thought it well worth his while Jesus came to show us that he is such a God, it is not a God.
That is a far off aloof disconcerned unaware. He actually came and experienced all that we experienced in a broken world. This truth I was struck with. In a, in a very unique way. A number of years ago when I went to Turkey and I spoke at the Cru, uh, w what was then campus crusade, uh, uh, conference of all of their missionaries and staff members throughout, uh, the Soviet block and the Islamic world.
And they came together. And one time when Mary and I were out with a young woman and this young woman had been, uh, was, uh, Was a member of their staff now, but she had grown up in a communist country. She was, uh, she was brilliant. I mean, she had a doctorate, but she had, uh, been able to get permission from your communist country, which is utterly atheistic and had gone to a, an, a country in the Arab world.
Uh, state religion entirely Islamic. And while she had gone to university, she had begun to have a, a burgeoning hunger to know about God. And so she was introduced to the Qur’an and began to study it and process it. And in her conversation with Mary and I, she explained to us her experience. She said, I read about God.
But a God, that was a God of power. God, that was a God with, with moral standards and principles, but a God of power in might was what I read. And she said, I understood power growing up where I grew up, I understood how it did not seem that different to me. I had seen the powers of the world. I had seen powerful figures run our nations and she said a God, that was a God of power.
Just didn’t seem that divine, if you will. That, that distinct from what I had seen. And then she said someone shared with me a new Testament and I read about a God who also was a God of power, but who took upon human humanity and came among us. And felt what we feel and embraced every part of our human experience and even took our own punishment on himself.
She said, such a God overwhelmed me. And in her statement, she said, this was the God I long to know and who was worthy of my devotion and love in Jesus in what Jesus. Did and coming among us and embracing this Jesus and getting to know him and present,
there is light to have a different view of God for he himself personifies in his incarnation. The reality of a God of humility and grace and mercy. Jesus also gives light to us. And it changes the way we look at ourselves. Jesus brings light by showing us things about ourselves that we would prefer not to face.
John three talks about that in verse 19, the light has come into the world, talking of Christ and people love the darkness rather than the light, because their works for evil. He shines the light on us and we see sin as it is. As people were around Christ and they saw true righteousness. True goodness.
Some hated him for it because it was a reflection of himself. As you go to the scriptures. What the light of Christ does is it exposes, right. It shows things. But the ultimate reason, Jesus shine that light into our lives is not to expose or to condemn because in that very passage in John three, it says this.
That his purpose in illuminating you John three 17. God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him, the light of Jesus shows you that you are more evil, corrupt, and self-centered than you ever dared belief. But. It also shows you that you are more valued and accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.
This is a light that Jesus brings. It enables us to embrace. All the ugly, all the broken, because the one who knows us most says, I want that boy, I want that girl. I want them enough that I will come among them and become them and be a substitute for them that they can know me and do life with me. The light changes the way you look at yourself and you realize you are a person of integrity, incredible value to God so much so that he would come in your brokenness to rescue and save.
The light, gives a sight in changing the way you look at other people. CS Lewis again, this time in his book, the weight of glory says this. I just think so powerful. Here’s what he says. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal nations cultures, arts civilizations. These are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat, but it is a moral immortals whom we joke with.
Work with marry snub and exploit immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play, but our mirror image must be that of a kind. And it is in fact, the mirror is kind, which exists between people who have from the outset taken each other.
Seriously, no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. There are no ordinary people. He says. We are all eternal beings, everlasting beings. We are all people created in the image of God. God made them all. He values them all. Just like he does you. They are evil, corrupt. And self-centered just like, you. But they are also just like you, those who, the more, they don’t know how much God loves them.
The more they will feel condemned and unlovely, and driven to be meaningful in a thousand ways and will have terrible triggers that are the result of their neediness and broken goodness, just like you. What they need is to know God’s left. His forgiveness and whether their names are M and M or LeBron, Ryan Reynolds, or Beyonce, Nancy Pelosi, or Donald Trump Bladimir Putin or mother Teresa.
They’re valued by God made in the image of God. Desperately needing mercy and acceptance from God that can ultimately be found only in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And the light of Jesus comes to display well, our darkness about people, about God, about ourselves. He gives us sight. Secondly, Jesus dispels darkness by giving us security.
You know, darkness is frightening, right? Darkness is, uh, creates increased, dangerous. I don’t worry very much about my wife going somewhere in the daytime. But if she’s going some isolated place at night, I want to make sure the phone is charged. I want to know where she is. I want to know when she’s going to go get there.
Why? Because darkness is increase at nighttime. Muggers are more bold at night. Roberts tended to hit your house. At night. Darkness creates increased, dangerous. Darkness also creates imagined dangerous, dangerous. You developed imagine dangerous because you can’t see that they are not there in every youth group.
Probably there has been this event. I had a way back when I was in high school with the, uh, we had campus life group church about 40 kids were there and they set up this obstacle course and they chose me to be the Guinea pig. And, um, they showed me the obstacle course and they showed me there. They’re putting a chair here, they’ve got these things you had to step over here.
There was a table you had to crawl onto here, then all these things and being an engineer’s boy and also being fairly arrogant, which is probably why I was chosen for the event. I said, well, can I, you know, as I do it, cause they said, you know, remember where these are and go through it. And I said, well, can I check it out?
So, you know, I, I measured it out and I said, all right, 10 steps. I was going to nail this baby. And so I started. And I was, I was offering myself. I mean, I was stepping over and I was going around and I wasn’t hitting anything. And L the campus life guy would give me, okay, you’re getting close to the, you’re getting close to the, the, um, the Chester draws we put there and you got to step around that.
And, and so he’s helping a little bit, honestly, I was. Pretty impressive. Not touching anything, anything. Now, if you’ve been youth groups, you know, what was going on and everybody’s laughing, I didn’t really understand it, but, um, and by the way, I’m blindfolded, I guess you’d got that part. I’m going. And finally, it’s beginning to Dawn on me.
I’m good, but I’m not this good. I don’t even touch anything. I don’t feel anything. And of course now I’m realizing, wait a minute. There’s nothing here. They cleared the whole obstacle course, and I’m just stepping all over and, you know, moving around and all this stuff and there’s nothing there. And so they’re watching and looking, he looks like a buffoon, so, but, but I wasn’t done because I, you know, there was a table to go and there was a wooden table and a dining, big dining room, heavy dine.
And so you said you’re at the table, so I’m going down and I’m in the underneath. The table. And I’m trying to think, is there a table? I mean, not, it’s probably not a table cause they moved everything else. So I’m just going to stand up and say, I get it. But what if there’s a table I’m going to smash my head.
I’m going to re so I went through, I, I know I had a mess imagine dangerous, even though I had thought I had resolved them. I wasn’t sure. So I did the whole thing and of course the table was gone. And so I ran the whole thing through this. This non-existent obstacle course, but we have imagined dangerous
and darkness causes us to do that. We need perspective. We need light. We’re told in Psalm one, 19 verse 30, the entrance of your word gives light it in our darkness. And our sense of fear. Fear of the unknown fear of what might be fear of the table. We’re not sure if it’s coming, if it’s there or not. Fear of just what’s there.
Jesus speaks to us his word. He does it all the time. Right. Many years ago, when, one of my, well, my boy Ben, uh, who spoke last week. Ben really struggled with nightmares at one part of his life. And we were praying with him and I finally, I didn’t know what to do. So I just said, look, I took a verse and yeah, the verse was Psalm one, four 41.
Excuse me, Isaiah 41, verse 10. Here’s what it says. Fear. Not for, I am with you. Do not be dismayed for, I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. And I started off and I wrote, I wrote the verse out and I started off when I said, dear Ben. And I wrote the verse, fear, not I’m with you.
Don’t be dismayed on. And then I signed it, love God. And I put this little card and I taped it right next to his bed on his wall. And I said, Ben, this is what the Lord is saying. And I noticed. We talked to him and he seemed to be doing a lot better with the, the, the dreams by God’s grace. And I talk, I went in his room about four days later and I noticed that the paper was sort of crumpled.
Uh, it was still on the wall, but it’s sort of crying. I said, Ben, what, what happened? He said, every time I’m in bed and I start to get scared. I just reach over and I sort of grabbed and he said, and it helps me not to have the dreams it’s truth. Right? I’m not promising if your kids have a dreams, they’ll say that’s a trick.
I’m just saying that the Lord uses Jesus uses the word. He, the entrance of your word gives light in, in the darkness in the scary times in the scary moments. And then not only the dark shadows of bedrooms, but many places can feel foreboding and overwhelming when living in the shadows without the light of God’s word, speaking into you, everything seems darker, scarier, more overwhelming.
And if you’ve walked with Jesus for a number of years, you know how powerful jesus’ words through the scriptures can be as he speaks into your life, you have some of you’ve got. Scary things right now. Some of you, it feels dark. I don’t know where this is going. I don’t know if we’re going to make it. I don’t know how this is going to play out.
Jesus said I’ll be the light. I’ll speak into you, Allah. Well, you to see what you need to see as far as you need to go, but I’ll also help to dispel the darkness that fear in the fearsomeness of that darkness. Third Jesus dispels darkness by giving us hope. Isaiah nine says then they will look and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom.
That’s the last verse of 20 of chapter eight. And then he says, nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who are in distress. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of deep darkness. A light has dawned. For to us, a child is born. When people are put into darkness, it depresses them humanly, physically speaking.
This happens of course, people in places like Alaska or Scandinavia have what’s called polar nights. Polar nights are a 24 hour period where the sun never shines. There are places of the world, which, uh, have 60 polar nights in a row, 60 nights, never seeing anything but darkness in those places, there is a specific title for them, depression and gloom that people experience it’s called the winter sad, seasonal affective disorder.
It’s a winter depression. It reminds us that darkness does that to us. When we are in darkness. When we’re in sadness, when we’re in relational conflict, it feels dark. It feels heavy. It feels gloomy, right? When things are, are, are worrying us, it feels dark and gloomy.
And Jesus again, is the one that comes to bring us light Charleston. And it’s one of the most famous preachers in the history of the English language. She was in, uh, London, uh, a little over a century ago. And Charles Spurgeon, if you’ve ever read him, he just had an. Astonishing love of Christ and a real gift with words, actors would go to just sit in his thing and listen to him to learn how he communicated.
But Charles Spurgeon dealt with, uh, depression and one time. And the greatest depression is a very big people person. One of the hardest things for him was people, um, criticized him. People being against him. Um, and one time he was really struggling with the darkness as he used the expression, actually the word, the darkness of, of people’s attacks and, and, um, the more he became well-known of course the more attacks he received and his wife actually.
One night, um, what she had done it before they went to bed, but the lights were out. So we didn’t know it. She had actually painted on the ceiling, this verse and the verse says this it’s from Matthew five. Blessed are you? When people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me rejoice and be glad.
Because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you and Spurgeon talks about waking up. And there’s this, this visual that his wife has put to just remind you, Charles, this is what Jesus says. These are jesus’ own words from Matthew chapter five in the sermon on the Mount.
Jesus speaks into us in our darkness. Some of you are in real darkness right now. Some of you are, are experiencing the gloom, the border line, moving from depression, into despair. Historically the people of the church have always called that darkness. Uh, Saint John of the cross in early century made this, he wrote a whole book called the dark night of the soul.
Kristen struggle like everybody else. But there is light that speaks into our struggles. There is light that speaks into our darkness and it is found because to us, a child is born. A son is given, Jesus has come among us. He knows your wiring. He knows your struggles. He knows your brokenness. He knows your needs.
He wants to speak into you and be light to you. Maybe his light to you will be reminding you who you are. That’s what the light does. Maybe it’ll be reminding you who he is maybe bit or reminding you of, of what he’s promised in your circumstances. But Jesus has come as the light. To close this morning. I just want to, I guess I just want to speak this admonition.
Many of you are aware culturally that there has been a big movement of many kids. Now, millennials, some of them that have left the church and left, uh, turn their back. Many of them still very spiritual. But have renounced what they understand of Christianity. Maybe you’re here in one of those, maybe you’re online in one of those.
I just want to speak to you today for those who are like the number that have said to me and have maybe said, or maybe you’ve said this. Yeah, I tried Christianity. It didn’t work for me. This is what I want to say to you. It’s not an, it
it’s a heat and the degree to which you learned Christianity, was it, or the degree to which you interpreted Christianity that way is the degree to which your perception of Christianity was mistaken. Jesus Christ. Is the light. He came through a lumen darkness, the darkness that makes life scary, that makes life hopeless.
That makes life not make sense. Jesus Christ is the safest person in your life. And many have embraced and our own kids have of, of, of, uh, generations. Certainly some of us from our parents, what we’ve embraced of Christianity is it’s about doing the right thing and measuring up and it’s not. Jesus Christ is not there saying I’m waiting for you to screw up, or if you do right, I’ll bless you.
If you do wrong, sorry. You know, you really make it. Jesus Christ is the safest person. He won’t let you down. He won’t tell you that you have to straighten up or get it right as his primary focus. What he will do is show you that you were not wired to do life on your own. That he loves you with a love.
You cannot fathom a gentleness and compassion that you will never find anywhere else. And if he prompts things in your life and says, I’d like this to change, it’s only because he is so for you, you will never have to worry that he’s on safe because today’s going to be this way. And tomorrow it’s going to be this way and I’m going to, I’m going to hit the wrong trigger because he’s needy.
And he, sir, no. He’s utterly sufficient in himself, but he is offering that sufficiency to you. Christianity is not an, it it’s a heat. It’s a him, the safest person in all the universe is the one that came for that, that, that woman I talked to in Turkey and she said, Oh my goodness, this, this view of, of spirituality where God.
Comes among us and, and rescues us and wants us. I want to know this guy. I want to worship this God and the degree to which you have learned or interpreted a different guy or God, it wasn’t Christ because he is the safest person you’ll ever know. Let’s pray, Lord.
We all have darkness. We all need light. Thank you, Lord that you chose this metaphor because it, it makes sense. It works for us. We know what it feels to feel dark and to feel fearful. We need light. Lord, we need Christ. Lord, how I pray it. What is the takeaway of this simple sermon? This morning would just be a hunger to know a Christ who is the safest person we could ever know that we’d want to know him more.
We want to live with them more. Thank you for wanting to be known in Jesus name. Amen. Now go on peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.