A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that New York City is the most miserable city in America. Pittsburgh and Detroit were among the runners-up. Negative factors included rent increases, cold temperatures, and stress. Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia, on the other hand, along with Washington, D.C., were ranked as the happiest cities with populations of at least one million.
Not even the happiest cities can hold a candle to the Heavenly City in today’s reading. In the midst of darkness and trouble, sin and confusion, the Lord arrives and His glory lights up the earth. The result? “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (v. 3).
This is the end of history, the climax of God’s plan of salvation. Blessings of peace and prosperity will abound (vv. 5–7). The whole world will recognize and bow down before the Lord Almighty (vv. 4, 8–9). Israel will hold the primary place, ahead of nations that had oppressed them (vv. 10–14). Peace will replace violence. These reversals will prove beyond all doubt that God loves and redeems His people (vv. 15–18).
Darkness will be ended—sin and death will be no more. Instead, “the L will be your everlasting light” (vv. 19–20). This new Jerusalem, the city of God, will not need the sun or the moon, for “the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev. 21:23).
To conclude this month’s study, Paul’s benediction is appropriate: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:15–16).
Since today concludes our study of the imagery of light and darkness in Scripture, it’s a good day to reflect on what you’ve learned this month. Take time to review key Bible passages and the devotional readings. In your time of prayer, ask the Lord to help you remember what you’ve learned and to continue to guide you in His light.