Servant Scratchings
September 2001

Let the Light Arise

Welcome to the very first Servant Scratchings!
My scripture for this month is Isaiah 60:1-3

  Isaiah 60:1-3 [NASB] :   Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.  

What strikes me as interesting in this passage is that when the 'light', or glory of the Lord arises on a person or people, the nations of the earth will be drawn to those upon whom the glory has appeared. By way of background, the Lord indicates that there is great darkness on the land at the time He clothes His servant(s) with His glory. Whilst this prophetic passage may be in relation to a specific time in history, I believe the principle involved is for all times. The Lord is not wishing that any should perish, but that all would come to a true knowledge of Him, a knowledge that is primarily of the spirit, not the mind or understanding. Even so, He has His plans and purposes and will do as He sees fit when He sees fit. (2 Peter 3:9-10) With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves, in this time of darkness, with social and moral decay abounding and self serving encouraged and taught as a good way to live, what must we do to have the glory of the Lord arise on us (individually and corporately) that we may be a light in the darkness? For when we are His light in the world the nations and the rulers of the nations will be drawn to us (the body of Christ) for answers to problems and situations that seem beyond resolution.

There is a human tendancy to just run off and try to be a light by taking on board social issues, agendas and programs. This, usually, is a form of self justification. There is a very real thought amongst many christians that we need to be seen to be living as christians, which is what leads to people and churches becoming involved in social action in many instances. This is always being exacerbated by those who are not of the church (and some within as well) who take every opportunity to put forward accusations of un-christian behaviour, based upon their own concept of what the church should or shouldn't be doing. Whilst I understand the sentiments involved, it is clear to me that it is not us who are to do the 'good works', but Christ in us and through us. True 'good works' come out of the depth of relationship with the Father Himself, just as it was with Jesus.

  John 5:19-20 [NASB] : Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel."  

From this I deduce that it is not for us to assume to know what the Father wants us to do, but to seek Him fervently, and out of that the Lord will place the burdens of His heart and will in our hearts and minds. In this way we can all live together, each fulfilling the plans and purposes God has for each of us individually, and as a result we will see that corporately we will be meeting all the needs that come to us. If we want to know what the Lord requires of us to do, we need not look any further than 2 Chronicles 16:9 and Psalms 51:10-13.

  2 Chr 16:9 [NASB] : For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. ...  

  Ps 51:10-13 [NASB] : Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.  

As we can see as we carefully read the second of these passages, the emphasis is on the state of heart and spirit being changed preceding the works of service. It's very much a matter of first having your inner man "worked on" by the Lord, and then at the right time, we will be rightly prepared for service. Our primary calling is to be pure and holy before a Holy God!

Am I therefore saying that we should sit and do nothing? Not at all. There are always situations and events that come to us in the course of our daily lives that are opportunities for us to share His love and will with others. What I believe is that it is wrong for us to take hold of an agenda or issue just because we think it is what the Lord would approve. We can always justify any 'good works' from scripture but that I believe is not the point. Our calling is to do that which the Father lays on our hearts. He brings situations and events to us that we are to allow Him to deal with in, but it is not for us to go looking for something to do on God's behalf. We are to work with God, not for God, or more clearly, as I have already stated, it is to be Christ in us and through us. Let us not take confidence in our own thinking, theories, theologies or doctrines, but let us look to Him who is the source of all TRUE knowledge, understanding and wisdom! (see Proverbs 3:5-8; Jeremiah 17:9; 2 Corinthians 5:7)

When we think in the eternal realm, we understand that we, of ourselves, are not able to do truly good works. This is what Jesus was saying when speaking to a Jewish ruler:

  Luke 18:18-19 [NIV]  A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  (19)"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."  

We have nothing to prove. All our efforts to 'be good' are in vain. Only when it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) who works from within us that we can do true good works.

  Phil 2:12-13 [NIV]  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  

Whilst it is "God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" how do we "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,"?

If we commit ourselves always to seeking the heart of our God above all else, through prayer, reading and meditating upon His written word - the Bible, and by spending time in His presence, I believe we will find that the glory of our Lord will begin to rise upon us, and then in time, we will be that light in a world of trouble and darkness. We will have our hearts and minds renewed and refreshed by the Holy Spirit of the Almighty King of hearts, and His leading will be our delight.

Psalm 46:10 [KJV]  Be still, and know that I am God: ... Isa 40:31 [KJV]  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Lord; prepare us fully ready for Your light to arise.