Light to those in darkness
In the last part of Zechariah’s prophecy, he turns to speak over his son, John. He prophesies his role in God’s plan to bring salvation to His people. These are powerful words of promise: salvation, forgiveness, and tender mercy. He draws attention to what it’s like to experience these things from God. It’s like a sunrise.
2020 has left many of us feeling overwhelmed by the darkness pervading our world and by the depths of brokenness and pain running rampant – invading our lives, destroying cultures and nations. Does that ring true for you? Maybe you don’t know where to go or what to do. Maybe your feelings are overwhelming and causing you to feel in the dark. You might even be wondering if this will ever end. You are looking for the sunrise – for the dawn. And just as the sun faithfully rises every morning, so God will faithfully bring His word to pass.
As you read the verses today, imagine the sunrise. That is what it is like to trust God through the night and see Him come through at dawn. Stay connected to Him in prayer, which is meant for more than just requesting our deliverance from our season, but is for intimacy with God, who does hear and is faithful to save.
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[a] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
For to Us a Child Is Born
9 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.