<p>Isaiah 60:1-5 A Light Shining in Darkness</p>

Written by Paul J Bucknell on December, 09, 2022

Isaiah 60:1-5 A Light Shining in Darkness

Hopelessness is a common characteristic describing spiritually and emotionally broken people, those having nowhere to turn. They feel they can do nothing to improve their circumstances.

The theme of light shining in darkness is the most powerful message to give to such hopeless people, no matter how dark the blackness. 

To shrug off some difficulty grasping this truth, one needs only to think of how turning on a light can bring brightness to a dark room. We, of course, are not this light—even in our best moods or modes. The true light comes from God. Jesus Christ is this true light that shines into this dark world. He is the Light that shines in every Christian life.

Text: Isaiah 60:1-5

1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of  the LORD has risen upon you. 2 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. 3 And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. 5 Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you. (Isaiah 60:1-5 NASB). 


To open our eyes and make necessary changes in our hearts and lives to enable God’s glorious light to shine brightly in and through our lives to those around us.


Dear Father in Heaven, while we hold the light, those around us remain in darkness. We have access to You, our God, but they don’t. Lord, now is the time for your light to shine. Shine brightly into our lives and rid our hearts of every dark blot. Remove all those things that block your light from shining in our souls in its full glory. Now, also, is the time for the light to shine forth with its tremendous glaring light into the dark world. We must wait no longer. We must take responsibility for our failure to bring light to them. Raise us and shine through our lives. In Christ’s glorious Name, we pray, Amen.

The light shows how Isaiah increasingly reveals topics on the light.

A) Instilling the Mission (Isaiah 60:1a)

“Arise, shine; for your light has come.”

The two commands are to arise and shine. We are not allowed to live sedentary lives. This is why entertainment and other such activities, though not wrong in themselves, quickly become moral issues. We need to think concretely about what the Lord would have us do. He gives us two clear commands: Arise and Shine.


“Arise” calls the believer to stand out; cease walking with the world. Our mission does not tolerate sin and ease. Step in line with God’s soldiers; live by God’s drive for the glory of God’s kingdom. The world might demand that we live with them, but we must refuse and remain on God’s mission. No matter the costs, we must step out of line from the world and live by God’s heartbeat. We need to rise from the compromises of the world where we become indebted and strive for the glory of God’s kingdom.


“Shine” speaks about how God shines forth His grace and truth through our lives. We must become active. It is not good enough if we only arise, for we must shine. We must get involved. One example is Paul (not me), who forsook two professional baseball teams and instead chose to work bringing the gospel to Asians. Instead of fame and riches, he decided to work reaching them with the Gospel. We must refuse to sift through our treasures before putting them away, to be easily offended, and to give up on the task God has set us. We must shine at all costs.

“You are the light of the world” (Mat 5:14-16)

Observe how the Lord Jesus amplifies these two themes found here.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 “Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Mat 5:14-16)

On the one hand, we see that we are to shine like the light. “You are the light of the world.” To rise up is seen in how Jesus speaks about the city set on a hill or not covering a lamp.

  • What is this great occasion that calls us to sacrifice all?
  • What is this call that demands us to drop all for His sake?

B) Clarifying Our Orders (Isaiah 60:1b)

“For your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”

Life changes are demanded because God revealed His glory in our lives. Once upon the earth, our focus has now fixed heavenward where we hear our Lord. 

Light has come. No matter how dark or dim our circumstances, our light has come. This light is nothing less than the great and glorious presence of Jehovah.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NASB)

Indeed we confess with John the Baptist that we are not that light. Christ Jesus is the light of the world. We boast not about our lives but of the glorious presence of the Lord.

And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, “What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.” (Acts 13:25, NASB)

The clarity and power of our mission will come as we remember the source from which we gain our light and are not confused by the presence of the darkness.

Many others have, through the ages, suggested political, legal, social, economic, or religious agendas. They have desperately fought for their purposes and even died for them in some cases. These efforts have, in the end, all drastically failed us. Instead, we need to stand up and let God’s light shine through our lives. Only then will the light shine in the darkness, order overcome chaos, and clarity rule over confusion. How much more time will we waste through our self-efforts?

“Not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:9,10, NASB)

Our call is to learn more about this Light. He is our hope. In Christ, the Light of the world, we will fully discover the glory of God. We must insist on knowing Christ and none other. We have nothing unless we have Christ.

C) Transforming Our Lives (Isaiah 60:2)

“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” (Isaiah 60:1,2).

Living in God’s presence will change our lives. Either we will turn from Him or flee from our sin and turn to Him. Each of us is born into this world full of darkness. It is so deep that we cannot see our way out of it. We are saved by grace. Jehovah rises upon us much as the sun rises in the sky. And we can then see how everything is made for His glorious purposes.

We are not to gain our identity, purpose, or strength from those around us. The Cambridge Seven gave up their wealth and fame to bring this Light to those in the far and distant darkness. In this sense, we must clarify our mission to let God’s light shine.

The Lord is not at all troubled by the darkness. In His own time He carries out His plan for distributing His Light throughout the world. He is not at all threatened by the Enlightened Age. He waits and shows the results of their so-called knowledge and expertise. Man’s problems are not solved but compounded.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4,5, NASB)

Early on, the Lord decided the means He would dissipate the darkness. He could have shown forth His light and awed all. Instead, the Lord chose to have His light shine through vessels that will reveal His light. The degree that the vessel’s reception of the light is clear and one’s windows open, God’s own light will shine into the world through them.

D) Transforming Our Societies (Isaiah 60:3-5)

“And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see; They all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, And your daughters will be carried in the arms. Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you.” (Isaiah 60:1-5)

We should look for change when people come and request our help in improving their lives and society. They can compare their nothing against what God is doing in us. We often spend our money, time, and effort on our agendas and solutions instead of waiting for the Lord. When we get to the point of letting God first transform us, those around us will see the fantastic work of the Spirit. Those nations will come to our light, which is, God’s light in us. Our rising will be God’s rising in us. Although there are not a few who decry spiritual lives as too heavenly to be of any earthly good, we challenge them with God’s model.

God’s light is the only real hope for this dark world.

Don’t force the governments and organizations. Focus on living righteous lives where you are. As God’s work touches people in our lives, then we must, in turn, introduce them to the Lord Himself. Some will reject God’s light just as they rejected Jesus’ miracles, but we must provide hope for the worst situations. If they see the Lord’s light, they will change for good.

The problem is with us. We do not show forth God’s light. We carry out our agendas rather than God’s. Our semi-light is our wisdom, knowledge, and experience, a poor substitute for the powerful presence of the mighty God.

Themes for Isaiah 60:1-5

  • Importance of focusing on our spiritual lives.
  • Evaluate our response to the world (darkness)
  • Exhorts us to complete our sanctification
  • Live for God’s glory by His ways (Getting out of the way)
  • Developing hope for God’s work around us
  • Place of Christians in society

Isaiah 60:1-5 Detection of Error

* Pride and True Worship

We mistakingly think that the solution is from us. Our wisdom, strength, vision, our… We are but the vessel, the point of reflection. As priests, we direct God’s light into the world. The source of healing, truth, and love comes from the Lord and is to be reflected in our lives. Because of this, we can give up trying to impress others with our ability to get ahead and put all our efforts into allowing Christ to dwell in our lives.

* Striving for Light

We often sense the need for more light. In one sense, this is true. We need to be enlightened. But it is not something we strive for. The Light is already shining. We no longer need to wait but act. We need to focus more on uncovering the way the light reaches us. A Christian, by definition, has the Light in his soul. (Illustration: We often use mechanical devices (things) to block out light. What spiritual things might keep the shining light from reaching us? The word ‘occult’ means hidden. Christianity is wide open with the teachings of God.

* Reforming Society

The mistaken notions espouse reforms in religion, social, politics, and economic areas to bring help. The greatest blessing, contrarily, comes from God’s change in our lives, and how this change is reflected in our society. We are not saying we should abstain from taking steps to improve our society. However, deep, we must remember that society will change when people change. Changing laws only acts as a taskmaster. The changing of hearts brings about real change in lives. Read through accounts of what happened during Christian revivals.

Arise and shine call us to respond (be lit) and replicate (Shine)

Bible Questions for Transformation for Isaiah 60:1-5

A) Instilling the Mission (Isaiah 60:1a)

  1. What things do we treasure most in life?
  2. What would we give them up for?
  3. We see the disciples forsook all to follow Jesus Christ?
  4. Have you taken up this road?
  5. What challenges hold you back? What have you given up for the Lord?

B) Clarifying Our Orders (Isaiah 60:1b)

  1. Where is this light to be found?
  2. Have you met Him?
  3. Why is ‘light’ used to describe Him? Has He become ‘your light?’
  4. What books do you use to receive counsel?
  5. How is the light connected to the glory of God?
  6. How do God’s light and glory dwell in your lives?

C) Transforming Our Lives (Isaiah 60:2)

  1. In what ways have you taken to allow His Light to shine in you more?
  2. How do the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying, and meditating on God’s Word maximize this purpose?
  3. How do the flames in Pentecost help us understand what God means for His disciples to be His light?

D) Transforming Our Societies (Isaiah 60:3-5)

  1. What changes are said to take place when the light arises?
  2. Where have you seen this in your personal life? What about those around you?
  3. How would you define what this light is?
  4. How do governments and other organizations like religions simulate this light?
  5. Does it work? Why or why not?
  6. What should we do in response to the ailing society around us despite the many worthless attempts and millions of dollars being spent to help?


Daily Studies On Isaiah 60:1-5

Daily Study: Gospel of John “Light”

Study the theme of ‘light’ in the Gospel of John. Look up all 16 references to light in John. How is light connected to God’s glory? What is light’s relationship to darkness? What insights do you gain from your study on light? In what ways do the light themes in the Gospel of John link to Isaiah 60:1-5?

Daily Study: Matthew 5:14-16 “Being His Lights”

What does Jesus exhort His disciples to do in this passage? How is this passage connected to Isaiah 60:1-5? What happens if God’s people hide their light? What is the result of living out the light? What is the goal of living out the light?

Our purpose is to shine, and the means to do this is to put away all those things that would cover up the light of God’s glory in our lives and extend ourselves into the world as the Lord would lead us. We have no greater purpose.

Recently, I saw a satellite picture of the earth at night where each area’s light shone. Some areas were very bright. Some were dark depending on the amount of electricity used in those areas. What does your home area look like if a screen mapped out your home’s spiritual light? Why?

Daily Study: Genesis 1 “Light and Darkness”

Examine the interaction of light and darkness in this passage carefully. What does the creation of the two lights do? How does the world revolve around the lights? How might creation prefigure a redemptive creation (His kingdom)? How does Revelation conclude the Bible’s theme of darkness and light? How does this conclusion differ from Zoroastrianism? Why so?

Genesis 1 sets the basis for several NT teachings. Just as there is a physical creation, there is a redemptive creation - a spiritual light that overcomes the darkness (John 1) that sets everything in the proper place to bring glory to God.

When the light comes, darkness is scattered. Unity reveals disunity or deformity. Light is organized communication, whereas darkness is miscommunication or falsehood. Power is connected with light rather than darkness. And though darkness might have time to show its effect, it is limited and will be overcome. (Illustration: computer binary language 0 and 1).

Daily Study: Ephesians 1 “Enlightened”

Examine the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:15-23. Especially focus on verses 18-19a. How is the word ‘enlightened’ used? Study the Greek word for enlightened and how it is used throughout the NT (check synonyms for this word in a commentary or Strong’s Concordance). What should come out of greater enlightenment? Do you pray this prayer? Do you know anyone who does? How would regularly praying affect a Christian or church’s development?


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