“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1 (NKJV)
This text is quite a popular one but in meditating on it some time ago, I started to understand it in a whole new light. I felt like the Holy Spirit was peeling off layers and layers to get me to the depth of it though I am sure it hasn’t been exhausted. The writer starts by saying ‘Arise, Shine’. My spiritual father helped me see this part some years ago so I must credit the source of the revelation. ‘Arise, Shine’ is quite different from ‘Arise and Shine’. ‘Arise and shine’ breaks down the verbs though conjoined into two distinct actions that one must actively do while ‘Arise, Shine’ implies that the former will practically guarantee the latter. Arise and the shining will follow naturally. As a result, we will not focus so much on the shine part but the former portion – Arise.
As I thought more on this verse recently, I got to see some other points which I will share here. First, I understand from the text that the only reason you should ever arise is because your light has come. Arise, Shine… why? Because your light has come. As if to say, without light, please do not arise because you will not shine. Arise could mean to stand up, stand out or take an action that makes you visible. Shine implies to glow, attract attention or illuminate. Of course, you can’t give what you don’t have. Again, this series of events is triggered by the arrival, so to speak, of your light. If you arise before your light comes, you will have no impact. Allow me to introduce a parallel text at this point.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
This concept is addressed in Matthew 5. Once you have light, it is to be displayed and put out there for all to see. It is pointless to have light and not arise. The light is not for your benefit alone. Matter of fact, the light is mostly for the benefit of others. Why bother lighting a lamp if you will put it under a basket and the room stays dark? From God’s perspective, you are simply the lamp. He is the lighter. If the lamp refuses to shine and insists on staying under the bushel, a wise lighter will cease to give light to such a lamp. The idea is not to propagate or encourage a self-serving, vain philosophy or even self-aggrandizement. No. Instead it is a selfless, people serving philosophy with light and God-promotion. The focus should not be on the lamp but on the light. Get it?
It is key to note that in both scriptures the responsibility to shine rests with the lamp – you. In Isaiah, you are asked to ARISE and in Matthew, you are asked to LET IT. Let it means you need to grant it permission to shine. Allow your light to shine before men. It is your responsibility to put what God has given you out there. There is no benefit to you or others in keeping it in.
Key question to answer is ‘what is light?’ what does light connote? I am glad you asked. We must be practical and not abstract to make this useful and applicable.
Light could mean one of three things. First, revelation knowledge; second, vision; third, anything you possess that can cause you to shine and bring Glory to God. Your light could be your gifts or talents.
REVELATION – I’ll oversimplify a bit here… Jesus is the Light of the world. In him was life and the life was the light of all mankind. In the context of which this extract was taken in John 1, Jesus is also revealed as the Word of God. Ergo, one major connotation of light is the revelation of God’s word. Whoever has revelation has light and that light must be shared for the benefit of the body. Revelation resides in your spirit which is the deepest part of you but understanding resides in your head. You understand with your head but catch revelation with your spirit.
VISION – Light also stimulates sight. You cannot see in darkness hence to say you have light is to say you can see or more sophisticatedly put, possess vision. Once you have a clear vision for your life, you need to let that vision find expression. You need to permit it; allow it to shine. I have been taught by my Pastor that a God given vision will always benefit others and mankind in general.
TALENT – Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father (source) of lights in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. God is the source of gifts/talents. They are sometimes innate from birth and sometimes implanted by God for a specific purpose during the course of our lives. For example, Samson’s great gift was his strength which he always had. On the other hand, Bezalel the son of Uri in Exodus 31’s great gift was his wisdom and skill in craftsmanship which was implanted by God during the course of his life and for a specific purpose – also for the greater good.
History demonstrates that those who have made the most significant and positive impact on our existence fall into either of these three categories; men of firm conviction rooted in revelation, men of great vision or men of incredible talent. The combination of all three forms of light is utterly unstoppable. It is impossible to possess light in all three forms – revelation, vision and talent without being a blessing to your world. But this is on you. You must arise. You must let it shine. The world must be glad that you came. You must bring glory to your Father in heaven.