In a previous devotional we read about God’s desire to bless Israel with the Aaronic blessing. His promise was to look upon them and ‘smile’ as they kept His covenant. The Psalmists claimed this fact of grace during their difficult experiences.
Unfortunately, Israel broke the Covenant too many times. This caused a sad record to be written up by Isaiah in 64:7b: you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Why had this happened? They had become unclean and their righteousness was as a filthy cloth. After the Babylonian exile and Malachi’s exhortations and warnings had ended it seemed around 400 years of silence descended upon the nation.
Would God ever smile upon them again? Did this mean the Gentiles would be left to their despair and spiritual darkness? Again, it is Isaiah who pointed the faithful to a future event. ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them the light has shined.’ Has that happened? How would we ever know for how can God’s ‘shining’ be tangible? Read Matthew 4:12-17. Isaiah’s prophecy is quoted. It is applied to Jesus and His ministry.
There God smiled with a radiance into history through His Son who would become, and now is our, Saviour and Lord. For two thousand years God’s smile has beamed onto this planet and its people. That’s the power of the Gospel and the privilege of letting it be known. 2 Corinthians 4:6 It is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
For Israel and the Gentiles God can still shine upon them through His Son. How it is possible to gaze into the unseen face of our Lord? Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit making His word alive to our heart and mind. What does that do for us? Unveils our lord and Saviour to our spirits for the Holy Spirit delights to make Jesus Christ known to us individually. The strength of our knowing and ‘seeing’ Jesus depends on how faithfully we are walking in the light of His teachings. (1 John 1:5-7)
Is there yet another aspect associated with God’s ‘shining’ and history? Definitely! There are numerous portions dedicated to this future event when Christ returns. Again Isaiah points us to it. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Then the fullness of the Aaronic blessing will be seen and we by God’s grace will bask in it also. Thank you Lord. There, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters; and the earth shone with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:2)
Ray Hawkins: Devotional books: 31 day devotionals on Children: God’s Special Interest. From Eden with Love (Re Marriage). Bethlehem’s Warrior Baby. Captured by Calvary. Dynamic Ageing. Signposts to Happiness (the beatitudes from Scripture)