TODAY’S READING: Isaiah 59–63
Isaiah was written during the years in which God’s people were in decline and oppressed. Land and blessing were lost, exile forced upon them. The powers of the age were other than their own—Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian, soon to be Greeks, Romans, and a litany of other rulers unfriendly to the gospel. In Persepolis, the capital of Persia, there was a ceremonial hall with an engraving showing a stairway up to the throne of the Persian king. The Persian king was considered the “king of kings” and was depicted as a winged sun, an image portraying universal rule. On the steps ascending the Persian throne were the other kings of the earth, dressed in various ethnic garb, all presenting gifts to the Persian king.
It was in this context that Isaiah thundered: “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you… But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light… The Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory” (60:1–3, 19). In this context the nations of the world are mentioned including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Arab tribes. Oh, hallelujah! I can hardly refrain from dancing when I read Isaiah, for he announced to a forsaken and discouraged people that we are delighted in, wedded to the glorious mission of God, and headed to Beulah land, where the Lord God shines like the sun, reigns in power, and embraces every tribe and tongue and people and nation to His glorious self (62:4–5).
It is this context—the God of light and glory, shining through His people to win all nations to Himself—that gives us the good news of Isaiah 61, the news we are to spread globally, the assignment Jesus took upon Himself and passed on to us. With Jesus and within this context, we say: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach…to heal…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God” (61:1–2). We can never stray from the biblical priority on the preaching and proclamation of the gospel. The gospel is good news that must be verbalized. Good news only makes sense in the context of bad news (i.e. the day of vengeance is a reality that draws ever near on all people and nations).
Today, if we are to be faithful sons and daughters of light, if we claim to be people of the Spirit, we have but one steady obedience: To open our mouths and declare to all nations that the King is coming in glory and power. To those who bow and worship Him there will be eternal life in His presence; to all who refuse there will be eternal fiery judgment. Our assignment is not complicated; it’s just hard—and beautiful. Let’s arise and shine, for our Light has indeed come and the glory of the Lord is risen on all nations.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 1042.