The Message version translates Isaiah 49:6 this way:
“I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that My salvation becomes global.”(I often use The Message translation because I believe it speaks more power and realness into our modern world and way of thinking. Eugene H. Peterson started out as a teacher in biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek, and used the original texts for authenticity, so I hold no shame in using this translation.)
Many other versions simply say:
“I will also make you a light for the nations (or Gentiles), to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
As you can see from this scripture, compared to other translations, it’s not very different in context.
I love the imagery Peterson uses with the words, “setting you up.” What comes to your mind when you read those words? That God’s preparing you? Getting you ready for something? Establishing you? Placing you right where you belong?
“As a light,” seems clear enough, right? But let’s consider the word, light, as a noun:
As you can see, there are a lot of definitions. Now let’s look at the meaning as a verb:
light1. something that makes things visible or affords illumination; 2. a type of radiant energy; 3. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of sight; 4. an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon; 5. a particular light or illumination in which an object seen takes on a certain appearance; 6. a device for or means of igniting, as a spark, flame, or match: 7. the aspect in which a thing appears or is regarded; 8. the state of being visible, exposed to view, or revealed to public notice or knowledge; 9. a person who is an outstanding leader, celebrity, or example; 10. spiritual illumination or awareness; enlightenment.
1. to set burning, as a candle, lamp, fire, match, kindle or ignite; 2. to turn or switch on; 3. to give light to; furnish with light or illumination; 4. to make (an area or object) bright with or as if with light; 5. to cause (the face, surroundings, etc.) to brighten, especially with joy, animation, or the like.So we can break the first part of this scripture down to something like this:
God is getting me ready, preparing me, and placing me right where He needs me to be so I can be the source of His illumination. I will expose God’s goodness with a public notice and acknowledgement. I will be an outstanding leader and example, enlightening others with the awareness of who God is.And now we can use this scripture as a prayer:
Father, illuminate me, set me up as a burning lamp to light the way for others to find You. Make me bright, cause me to brighten the lives of others with joy and laughter and hope. Use me to make Your Holiness visible to everyone around the world. With one spark, I will ignite those around me with God’s salvation.
Making God’s salvation global can be done in so many ways: missionaries, giving to a charity organization, donating your time as a volunteer, blogging for charity organizations, telling others what you are doing and inspiring them to do the same.
I write this blog in the comfort of my home, most of the time in my pajamas. I have often wondered why I even write this, and what it matters in the “grand scheme of things.” But as I mentioned on Tuesday, the little effort I’m making, God is using in miraculous ways! When I think I’m not doing anything at all to be a light to the nations, God is working behind the scenes.
Sometimes it’s the little things. One smile at someone can trigger them to suddenly feel confident, and the next thing they know, they’re doing something nice for someone else.
God’s goodness has a rippling effect, and we need to consider just how far it goes: to the ends of the earth!