Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’ Isaiah 40:9
During the prophet Isaiah’s lifetime, God’s people had been taken captive into a foreign territory. They were dejected, unable even to sing songs of praise to the Lord (see Psalm 137:1-4). Yet while they were in that state of exile, God came to His people with words of comfort (Isaiah 40:1)—comfort found only in the fulfillment of His promise: that the glory of the Lord would be revealed, not only to Israel but to all mankind.
These good tidings were nothing to be quiet about. God’s people were meant to give a triumphal shout, captivating each other with the glory of their hope. Once described as “people who walked in darkness,” they now saw “a great light” (Isaiah 9:2).
The distinction between the darkness of this fallen world and the light of heaven is a striking picture that runs all the way through Isaiah, and indeed through the whole Bible. Darkness is a result of disinterest in God, rebellion against Him, and unwillingness to do what He says. There is but one message that shines light into such darkness, refreshing hearts and minds: “Behold your God!”
This message is just as relevant to God’s people today as it was in Isaiah’s time. The darkness often feels very heavy and the light sometimes looks very dim. Yet often the message of hope also dawns during uncertain times. God promised, “The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 40:5). Ultimately, God fulfilled this promise when He took on flesh and established His presence among us.
When John wrote his Gospel, he looked back on the same scene to which Isaiah had been looking forward, saying, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Here was—Hewas—the Light of the world, and “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (v 5). Isaiah was describing the one who would come—but we, like John, are able to reflect upon the completed work: the promised glory that has now been revealed.
God has come to us, breaking through our darkness and bringing salvation. You can behold your God in a manger, on a cross, walking out of a tomb, and now reigning on high. It is not hard to see the darkness—but we must nevertheless look to the light, for there we find hope that casts out fear and good news that is worth heralding. Today, behold your God!
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.