Archive for the ‘The Brightness of Shining’ Category

The Brightness of Shining

January 9, 2010

The Brightness of Shining (14Jun09)

Some thoughts on Isaiah 60

Bill Johnson did a teaching on 31 May 2009 ( or )  re: the 1st 5 verses of this passage, and how almost exactly 30 years ago, to the very month, he had been reading this scripture while walking around Bethel Church during worship, which he had just become the pastor of some 6 months before, and the Lord used that particular passage to transform his outlook on what the Church is and how he was called to speak that into existence.

Barnes comments:

Verse 1. [Arise] This is evidently addressed to the church….She is now called on to arise from the dust, and to impart to others the rich privileges which were conferred on her….

[Shine] ….Vitringa regards the expression as equivalent to this, ‘pass into a state of light. That is, enjoy light thyself, and impart it freely to others, Gesenius renders it, ‘Shine, be bright; that is, be surrounded and resplendent with light.’ The idea probably is this, ‘rise now from a state of obscurity and darkness. Enter into light; enter into times of prosperity.’ It is not so much a command to impart light to others as it is to be encompassed with light and glory. It is the language of prophecy rather than of command; a call rather to participate in the light that was shining than to impart it to others.

Isaiah 60:2 …. [But the LORD shall arise upon thee…be seen upon thee] There is more emphatic meaning in the original here than is conveyed in our translation. The Hebrew word…does not mean merely that that glory would be visible, but that it would be conspicuous. It would be so bright and luminous that it would be seen afar-like a cloud or column of glory standing over Jerusalem that would be conspicuous to far distant people.

(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

We are called to become “conspicuous” in our “shining.” We are to transform the world, but in order to do so, we must ourselves be “shined upon” with waves of glory so intense that we ourselves are transformed first. This is the draw of superhero movies and stories, that we so desire to become that agent of change that we bring glory and goodness and salvation into the world. Deep inside, each of us desires to become a Superman, Zorro, Batman, William Wallace, or William Wilberforce. That is our calling, and if we are willing to learn and participate, it is our destiny.

How do we get there? Because we come from a culture that pushes performance, our immediate response would be, “What do I DO?” That is the wrong question. It is primarily a matter of BECOMING, not of DOING. Light shines OUT from us, RADIATES out from us, and it is a function, a by-product, not a focus. If we reach for results, we have a mentality of measuring, not of mirroring. We REFLECT glory that is poured out on us, given into us, transferred and conferred onto us. We are change AGENTS, not changers. It is as though we were called to be catalysts, unaffected by the change we cause (though in fact we ourselves will also be transformed in the process of transforming).

We must ready ourselves. It is more a matter of positioning ourselves, as T.D. Jakes says in the title of his book, “RE-Position Yourself!” We are called to get ourselves into alignment, much as a laser does, in order to so organize and focus the light coming into us that it cuts, heals, melts and molds into usable, profitable, beneficial , life-giving products and services.

We must not focus on ourselves or the results we think we are supposed to bring. The one who appears to get no results may in fact be over the long haul the most significant change-agent (as with Boris Cornfeld leading Solzhenitzen to salvation, or the little monk dying in the gladiator fights but in so doing, beginning their demise—2 stories told by Chuck Colson in Loving God). We must listen to the love-song of our Daddy singing over us, as the father did his young son who was fretting while the mother was shopping: “I love you. You’re my most wonderful son. You have been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I love you so dearly…” and on and on with made-up words and tune, and the son, when then dad puts him into the carseat and stops singing, looks up and says, “Sing it again to me, Daddy!” (a story told by Richard Foster in the intro to the book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home). We must be so in tune with our heavenly Father that, like Jesus, we do only what we see him doing, say only what we hear him saying, act only when we know he is directing, and wait otherwise.

An incredibly difficult thing to do—waiting—but it is our HIGH CALLING! Waiting not simply as “killing” time, but rather as redeeming. Waiting as the best waiter in the highest-class restaurant waits—looking at the customer to see the slightest indication that something is amiss, that something is needed, that something is wanted. Looking at the Father’s eyes as in Psalm 32:8, looking to see where his eyes are directed, where he wants something done, where his heart is. Listening to his heartbeat and knowing the connection with his eyes, seeing the longing of his heart radiating out through his burning eyes. Being so penetrated that we melt into oneness, unable to move—and so is he, ravished by one look into our expectant eyes (S.Sol.4:9 ?), and we melt together in an embrace of love that rocks eternity.

And we have to be so changed that in the humdrum everydayness of life, we don’t even have to think about our boredom or inactivity. We are not focused on results, and so we do not have to measure our lack of “doing something.” Rather, we are available, a witness who may never get called to the stand, but nonetheless ready. And believing that exactly where we are is where we are supposed to be (as Neo was told in Matrix) for that given moment, nothing more, nothing less. “Locked and loaded,” even if never used.


Ready. Aim….