LIGHTING THE CANDLE
I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.
What comforting words for these days! The Lord leads us and guides us! One of the things setting us apart from animals is consciousness with our ability to worry about the future. Dogs do not worry, nor do dolphins. They live at ease in the present moment. But our default mode is to worry while in uncertainty and trouble.
The year 2021 lies before us, but we do not know what a day in it will bring. We wonder if the New Year will be but a sequel to 2020. Will there be a new wave of disease? Will the economy tank? Will the stock market rise or fall? Will there be war? How will our health be? We do not know the answers!
Yet, today’s scripture speaks hope and certainty for the future. This prophecy originally applied to ancient Israel in the darkness of the Babylonian Captivity. The prophet Isaiah symbolizes Israel as “blind”, with an unknown road before them. But, Isaiah reassures that the Lord Himself will “lead” and “guide” them. He “will not forsake them.”
Today, because of Jesus’ coming, these promises to ancient Israel apply to anyone who puts trust in Him. It is just as the apostle Paul reminds New Testament Christians: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). We can take these words and be encouraged to have hope for the days ahead!
Isaiah promises God’s people that the Lord will lead them, “by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known…” With God guiding, His people can go forth like Abraham, who, “set out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). God knows the way ahead, and will illumine it by the light of His love and wisdom. He will turn “rough places into level ground,” clearing the way for His people. God’s people can rely on the wisdom of Proverbs: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Now turn from Scripture to our individual lives. See how God has guided us, often by a road we did not know. How wondrous and mysterious are God’s ways in our lives! If we had an Isaiah to write our life story, we would be moved by how God has led and cared for us!
Isaiah’s ancient prophecy speaks to every believer today as we stand on the brink of 2021. Like ancient Israel, we do not know the way ahead, but we do know that the Lord leads the way. He who has delivered us out of darkness will guide us. He will lighten the darkness.
PALMS DOWN/PALMS UP
Our Father in heaven, you loved us and cared for us and shaped us in our mother’s womb. In wondrous and mysterious ways you have watched over and guided us. Help us in the face of difficulties and darkness to not doubt your care as you lead us even in ways we do not always understand. We praise you that you never forsake us or leave us on our own! Thank you that you are right here with us now! Amen.