By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Keep the torch lit, and the reason why, is documented by the prophet Isaiah, in regards to the future of Israel; but could be applied to all who have been adopted into the household of faith. Isaiah revealed a time when Israel would arise out of her darkness and shine with God's glory.
Scripture reveals: Arise, shine (keep the torch lit); for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you (Isaiah 60:1-2).
Israel, in the days of Isaiah, was in a period of national corruption and its consequent sufferings. Scripture reveals: Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).
A Bible commentary noted: Those in Isaiah's day had fallen from grace due to sins and corruptness of that day. Because of allowing such to dominate and control; it was like a partition wall dividing them from God, a withdrawal of His presence that existed when they were obedient to Him!
Many once godly nations; previously under the umbrella of God's protective hand, no longer share such, due to allowing sin and degradation to infiltrate and dominate the land. They did not keep the torch lit, a shining presence of God in the land, with His glory dominating the scene.
Isaiah noted: None calls for justice, nor any plead for truth; they trust in vanity (empty words), and speak lies; they conceive mischief (evil), and bring forth iniquity (Isaiah 59:4). Keep the torch lit was no longer noticeable in the land; resulting in Isaiah having to cry out against the injustices of His day.
A Bible commentary noted: None calls for justice; for justice in courts, nor see laws instituted towards justice in the land, to relief those that were oppressed. No one pleads for truth but through carnal means allows rules of man's devising to come into focus. They do that which is sinful, by words and actions, by reproaches, by violence and persecution.
Isaiah noted: Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths (Isaiah 59:7).
A Bible commentary noted a condition that could readily apply to today: Their feet run to evil with great eagerness and swiftness, taking delight and pleasure of it, continuing in it as their course of life. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; continually devising things vain and sinful; words and actions being evil, revealing their general depravity, not realizing the ways they walk would lead to ruin and destruction.
Isaiah noted: The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment (justice) in their goings (steps); they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goes therein shall not know peace (Isaiah 59:8).
A Bible commentary noted: The way of peace they know not. There is no judgment (justice) in their ways; in their actions, in their dealing with men, no discerning of truth, no longer having knowledge of the Word of God to guide them.
They have instead made crooked paths, not according to the rule of God's Word; having deviated from it, therefore they no longer know the way of peace with God. Many once godly nations are suffering in the same way; no longer keeping the torch lit towards the things of God; half-hearted in their attempt to keep the Word of God.
Isaiah noted: Therefore is judgment (justice) far from us, neither does justice (righteousness) overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness (Isaiah 59:9).
Failing to keep the torch lit resulted in prevailing sins. A Bible commentary noted: With God no longer available to right the wrongs, nor avenge them of their enemies, it left them exposed to the results of men. We wait for light but behold obscurity; for brightness but we walk in darkness; represents no longer having their former source of light in God.
A commentary noted: In the Bible the torch symbolizes the light of Spirit, God, and of Christ. The light of the torch radiates outward and dissipates darkness. The symbol of the Olympic games, and the purpose of them, can be a reminder to the world of the need to reach outward in further effort to advance humanity's goals.
Keep the torch lit represents the mastery of fire, wielded purposefully by humankind, universally represents culture and civilization with the torch being the symbol of liberty, freedom, inspiration, knowledge and teaching.
Let us hold fast to the freedom the torch represents as it illuminates all. When darkness attempts to cast aside the brightness of a God-fearing people, let us remember to keep the torch lit through adhering to the Unadulterated (Pure) Word of God; unhampered or impeded by man's devises.
The history of the Statute of Liberty: In 1865 a Frenchman conceived the idea of presenting a monumental gift from the people of the United States. An ardent supporter of America, he wished to highlight the centennial of the Declaration of Independence as well as celebrate the close relationship between France and America. He was equally moved by the recent abolition of slavery in the United States, which furthered America's ideals of liberty and freedom.
The gift from France has watched over New York Harbor since 1886, and on her base is inscribed the words: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled messes yearning to breathe free. Even the Statue's official name represents her most important symbol "Liberty Enlightening the World."
I was first drawn to the term "Keep the Torch Lit" by the inscription becoming the tune towards an effort to restore the statue's former luster that had begin to wane due to time and weather. I pray that as its luster was restored; so can many once godly nations, who have deviated from their godly stance, be restored again!
Keep the torch lit, and the luster of a nation shining bright, is reflected in a prayer by George Washington, America's first President: Save us from violence, discord and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
Endow with the spirit of wisdom those in whom your name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and, in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Scripture reveals: The path of the just is as the shining light (of the keep the torch lit category), that shines more (brighter) and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is darkness; they know not at what they stumble (Proverbs 4:18-19).
A Bible commentary noted: The path of the just is as the shining light, under the influence of divine grace, living soberly, righteously, and godly in this world. He goes to God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, for grace and mercy, for peace, pardon, and acceptance; enjoying the communion with such, the way of one's salvation, and to eternal life and happiness.
Those words give clarity and are supportive towards a life in Christ, which if one is not presently experiencing; they can through Jesus' invitation towards acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior. He declares: I stand at the door, and knock (the door of one's heart); if any man hear my voice, and open the door (only you can), I will come in to him, and will sup (dine) with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).
A Bible commentary noted: The way of the wicked is as darkness; in the darkness of sin, ignorance, error, and unbelief; works of darkness, the way which leads to eternal darkness and misery. They know not at what they stumble; being ignorant of God's Word, and Christ, whom they have no knowledge of; or are rejecting Him, and through the temptations of Satan and the snares of this world, they continue blinded to the truth of the Gospel.
Scripture reveals: The god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4). A Bible commentary noted: Satan blinds one through their mind; of their understandings; he penetrates into the very hearts and minds, having influence there; he diverts them from hearing the Gospel message, by increasing darkness towards the things of God.
Keep the torch lit failed in the case of Nineveh; who having been delivered by God's merciful hand, fell back into sin and rejection of God. The prophet Nahum noted the destructive measures heaped on Nineveh by the hand of God though the Chaldeans: The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against one another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like lightening (Nahum 2:4).
A Bible commentary noted: The chariots shall rage in the streets where they drove in a furious manner from place to place, breathing out slaughter and death wherever they go. They shall jostle one against another in their haste to make to spoil and plunder the city. They shall seem like torches and run like the lightning, being exceedingly swift, with irresistible force and power.
Until one realizes a dire need for a Savior; they remain in the darkness of this world; until illuminated by the Gospel message of salvation. Scripture leads one towards the peace of God, in Christ. Jesus said: Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me (John 14:1). Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you (John 14:27).
The believer needs to keep the torch lit towards faith in Christ as one's peace-giver; even with the world roundabout them seeming to crumble. One's comfort is in knowing that the presence of God abides within. Jesus said: I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever (John 14:16).
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