“This message is taken from the text of Isaiah 42.5-9, where God answers the question: ‘How do I find my way out of the dark?’ So how do you? Listen along to find that God Himself can lead you out of the cave-like darkness that every human finds themselves in.
Years ago, I was with our friends in Northern China. Near the place we were camping out, there was a cave. Actually, it was more of a path through the inside of a large rock outcropping. Our host offered to teach us something by walking us through the cave. He was the only one with a flashlight, and it was small. As for the rest of us, we had to simply follow him. The way we did it was we formed a line and everybody put their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. As the leader walked through the cave, we all trailed behind him. When he stopped we all stopped, when he walked we all walked. The crazy spooky thing was that when we stepped in the cave, it was so very dark that you could see literally nothing. Not even your hand in front of your face! Completely dark! You had this feeling that you would be quite helpless if you didn’t have your hand on the shoulder in front of you. There was not much sound either, as the walls seemed to absorb all noise. We wandered around in there for a while until we finally came out an opening at the other end of the cave and into the daylight. It was an impressive experience. We talked about it afterward and shared some things we learned in there. Have you ever had a life experience like that? What we learned was similar to what you can learn from our Scripture text today.
Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Here’s what we can bring home from Isaiah 42 and from the cave experience.
Essentially we’re in darkness and in certain life circumstances we understand that more clearly. We can’t really see and can hardly hear at many, many points in life. Most importantly I especially can’t see ‘Who’ is behind all of what makes up my life. If I had joined the line to enter the cave and the leader of the group was already inside, I wouldn’t have really known who was in charge. Where would he lead us? What would his intent be; to feed us to hungry bears or to get us safely through? It helps a lot to know who is behind something, because then you know their intentions for you and how things are supposed to end, especially not being able to see.
Isaiah 42 answers that question. It’s the Lord who made heaven and earth and currently gives breath and spirit to the living. It’s not your cousin Mort behind the curtain of life. It’s the Lord leading us through the cave, and He is competent and powerful enough to do it.
But in life, I don’t see if the good leading and intentions of God are directed to me personally. Ever feel like you’re just one obscure member of the human race? In the cave I was just a member of the group, hand on shoulder in line. But I happen to know that the leader of the group was thinking about me personally as we wound our way through the dark. Verse 6 tells us that God would send a Savior, Jesus, to be a light to the Gentiles. Isn’t that the same thing? The Gentiles are the spiritually obscure, the outsiders. A light to the Gentiles is a light to you personally.
The end of Verse 6 and Verse 7 actually answers that.
The Lord promised to send His answer of light to the Gentiles. Anybody here feel left out? Different from everyone else? Then His answer is specifically sent to you. The Lord sends His answer to those who are blind. Anybody not able to see where they’re going? Then His answer is specifically sent to you. Anybody a prisoner to anything? From addictions to simple sinful patterns? Then His answer is specifically sent to you.
He, God, wants to bring you out of all that. He sees you and wants to bring you out, out of the darkness, out of the prison house, sitting there, hopeless.
Verses 8 and 9, they’re a promise. A promise that God will do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Only He gets the glory, only He declares the new things and makes the old, the former things, done.
Put your trust in the Lord today. Especially if you can’t see, can’t escape and need a champion, from whatever cave you’re in.