‘Wakey, wakey – rise and shine!’ That phrase certainly takes me back to my childhood – maybe it does yours too. Or maybe you’ve used it yourself to try and rouse sleepy children or grandchildren. But have you ever wondered where that phrase comes from?
Well, wonder no more – in all likelihood you’ve just read the original version of it in Isaiah chapter 60 and verse 1: ‘Arise, shine…’ Long before we rose and shone – or more likely, flickered reluctantly – God was declaring it over his chosen people 2,500 years ago. They too were living in a time of darkness (v2) – only not the darkness of an early morning, but of a situation of defeat and judgement. And into this situation God speaks a succession of great promises: of hope, of renewal, and also of light. We’ve looked at a couple of these promises in the last two days, and here is one more to lift our spirits.
Let’s notice first that God doesn’t ask us to do anything he hasn’t done first. It is God who rises and shines on us (v2). We rise and shine with his reflected light. A light which reaches to the nations, and to those who rule them (v3). A light which declares the glory of God into our situations (v1). To a world that is looking for light, God declares: ‘Your light has come!’
To a defeated people, this felt like the brightness of a new dawn (v3). And this global work of God would usher in an age when people would revere him across the world (59:19).
God gave this to his people 2,500 years ago as a solemn promise – a covenant (59:21). A covenant which remains in force now. We too have this light in our hearts. We too have this word on our lips and God’s Spirit upon us.
In this season which feels dark to many, let’s recover the power of an old saying which speaks not just of a new day, but of the ancient and enduring promise of God. Rise and shine! The glory of God rises on you. Even here, even today.