Isaiah 9:1-2 NIV “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.
— The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
One of the absolute most utterly fun things about SLG is how God connects people to us. I don’t know of another group of people who has such wild, wacky stories.
“My sister in Nebraska hosted an exchange student from South Africa seven years ago. The exchange student went home, but kept in touch. She heard about you from someone in Australia who went to one of your seminars there. You gave her a prophetic word that changed her life. She told my sister’s friend in South Africa who told her, and she told me.”
Fun chain of events. Really fun when you consider that I have never been to Australia, have never done a seminar there, or given someone there a prophetic word! I’ll bet that angel impersonating me taught one hard core seminar. Wish I could have heard him. Betcha I would have learned a thing or two about my stuff!
My all-time favorite story was of a woman who died and another woman was hired to clean out the junk. The cleaner found some of our stuff and kept it instead of throwing it away.
Simply put, God has a department of highly creative angels, some who are apparently a bit bored, so they decide to do their job with some uncommon humor, getting the right people connected to us.
In that vein, I so love this passage. Jesus moved his office from Nazareth to Capernaum and centered His ministry there for one reason – need. They didn’t deserve it in any way when He came, and when He left three years later, they deserved it even less.
But this story is not a bit about deserving – it is about mercy. Because they were in great darkness (presumably crafted by their many sins) He brought light. Just because that is what God does.
He dominates darkness. It holds no fear for Him. But He IS light. So in His ongoing project of tormenting His ancient enemy, He finds some of the aforementioned enemy’s best work, and invades it.
So this week let’s do two things. First of all, savor the story of your getting in touch with us. How did He do it? Plain and simple or exotic and exciting? Then think back to the dark spot where something we produce landed nicely and brought light. What teaching has kept you around?
Then second, ask God to take the light that He has given us to steward to some people sitting in darkness, who, in the natural, would never, never find us. Invite Him to make a public spectacle of the enemy’s most hopeless, impossible darkness by revealing Himself there through our teachings.
It would be fun to be a fly on the wall to listen to your prayers. Some of you have really wacky stories. You will pray with vast faith, because you have seen Him do it. Others were in deep darkness when the light arrived. You will pray with vast passion because you still remember the misery of your darkness.
Won’t it be a hoot in eternity to gather up all the people who heard about SLG for the first time this week and listen to their stories of how the angels did it? I wonder what we will use instead of pizza to party with in heaven.
“Father, I bring much emotion to this prayer. I still remember when I was one of those who was surrounded by gloom because I lived in distress. I also still remember what it was like to be barreling madly through life while being in darkness.
“And I certainly remember the 33 years I lived in the land of the shadow of death.
“Lord of Light, I have deep, deep gratitude for the six key people you sent to me at different times, through remarkable means, to shine some light in my darkness.
“Father, I have been aggressive in sharing the light you gave me with those I can reach who are living in the land of the shadow of death. It has brought me robust joy to do so. But my arm is short and yours is long.
“I ask you to gloriously visit the land of the shadow of death this week, and to bring light to hundreds of people who are in such darkness they are not even looking for light any more. As you did with Galilee, break forth in the most unlikely places, simply because there are so many prisoners in the land of the shadow of death.
“I know I do not have the word for everyone. The world is diverse and the streams of the faith are many. I simply ask that for those who would receive the light that I steward in a way that would set them free, that You would command that this light arrive in their midst.
“Having seen Your vast creativity in the past, I worship by faith in anticipation of the remarkable things You will order done this week.”
Copyright January 2014 by Arthur Burk