The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death…
I. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHOM THE PROPHET SAW WALKING IN DARKNESS? By darkness, Scripture means spiritual alteration. Our normal condition is light; for God is light and we were made in His image. But this primitive state no longer exists; an astounding fact has overthrown Divine order; sin has changed all things. The alteration produced by sin is —
I. An alteration of truth Our intellect is darkened "through the ignorance that is in us, because of the blindness of our heart." The knowledge of God and of ourselves, which in the origin was pure, has been perverted by a spirit of error and replaced by a veil of darkness. Man has ceased to know God and to know himself. What light would you kindle to dispel these shadows of death!
2. An alteration of life. A false life has invaded the soul and driven away the light of life. The source of life is in God, but it is no longer God who holds dominion over the soul; it is self, the world, and sin
3. An alteration of joy. Light and joy are synonymous, in Scripture: "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." But what becomes of joy if it is deprived of truth and life! It is turned into sorrow. Our earthly joys are but disguised sorrows.
II. WHAT IS THE LIGHT SPOKEN OF BY THE PROPHET? Revert to the fall of the first man and woman in Eden; a promise shines. This promise henceforth accompanies humanity.
Parallel VersesKJV: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.