December 1: Hope in the Darkness

December 1: Hope in the Darkness

Excerpted from God with Us by Josh Cooley, author of Creator, Father, King

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” – Isaiah 9:2, NLT

We all know about nocturnal animals that become more active at night. But did you know there are animals who exist in total darkness? Creepy creatures such as the snipe eel, phantom anglerfish, and something aptly called the black sea devil all live in environments completely void of light. How depressing!

In the late eighth century BC, Isaiah spoke of humans living in this wretched condition. This was all part of a larger prophecy of God’s coming judgment through Assyria against Israel, which had abandoned the Lord and chosen to walk in spiritual darkness.

Amid Isaiah’s gloomy message of imminent destruction, however, he pronounced a message of hope—a message of light piercing through the darkness.

The darkness Isaiah spoke about in today’s verse, of course, was metaphorical. It’s the darkness of spiritual blindness. It refers to someone who is in willful rebellion against God, stumbling around in the morass of sin.

While some weird-looking deep-sea creatures are suited to live in total darkness, humans are not. In darkness, we stagger, fall, take wrong paths, incur injuries, and even die.

God’s image-bearers were made to walk in the light. Yet sadly, many people choose to live in the darkness. Sin blinds us to God’s truth. Millions choose to lurk in sin’s shadows rather than bask in the life-changing glory and transformative grace of the one who created them. John 3:19 says, “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”

All this begs the question: How would people walking in spiritual darkness see the “great light,” as Isaiah predicted? The prophet famously provides the answer a few verses later: “A child is born to us, a son is given to us” (verse 6). The “great light” that pierces sin’s darkness is the child who was born in Bethlehem—Jesus! Matthew confirmed this in his gospel (Matthew 4:12-17). Jesus testified of himself, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).

This is why God sent Jesus into the world—to break the power of darkness and bring us into the light of salvation. This Christmas, worship in the light of the Son!

For further reflection:

Read Isaiah 9:1-7 and Matthew 4:12-17 to see Isaiah’s powerful messianic prophecy and how Jesus fulfilled it.