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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalists: Take a stroll with the light (Isaiah 2:5)

Isaiah 2:5. “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”

Exegesis and Application

The key word here is the Hebrew word for “walk” and is “yolakh,” which can have the same general meaning as its Greek counterpart which is the common “peripatomen” (used in the Septuagint) and is used to represent the whole physical, social and moral activities of the individual. The Hebrew word translated “light” in Is. 2:5 is “our.” In the Septuagint the Greek word translated “light” is “phostere,” the same as used in 1 John 1:7. Isaiah 2:3 teaches the biblical truth that one must be instructed in the truth before one can walk in the truth: “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” This process of bad theology leading to bad conduct should be self-evident, but it is not. The church of Isaiah-Jeremiah needed reminding time and time again that if one was to “walk in the light” one must be taught what the light is: “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it” (Jer. 6:16). “Walk,” “walk” and “walk” – it is a biblical metaphor for living the truly satisfied life. Right doctrine and good ethics: that is the way of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

In the New Testament, Paul tells the Ephesians to “walk as children of light” (5:8) and John tells us in 1 John 1:7, “if we walk in the light, as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” One would think that John should say that walking in the light leads to fellowship with Christ, but he doesn’t. This is an ethical statement. Correct theology leads to correct behavior. The Jews called their laws of conduct Halachah which means “walking” or “to go on habitually” (cf, Prov. 20:7; Is. 38:3), and is used in the New Testament for the progress of the Christian life (2 Cor. 5:7; Col. 4:5; 2 John 4).

Now walking in the light means living a life that is plainly seen by others and in turn giving off reflected light to those around the believer (Matt. 5:16; John 17:23; 2 Cor. 2:14-16). It also means take your time but be in movement. The biblical writers could have said “run,” “hurry,” “be quick,” “don’t tarry.” After all there is urgency about one’s relationship to God (1 Cor. 7: 29-31; 2 Cor. 6:1-2). But repeatedly the writers said “walk” in your conduct as followers of Jesus. There is slowness about the Christian testimony.

So what does this mean for the Christian journalist?

1) The Christian journalist must realize that as “walkers in the light” they do their walking in a dark environment. The setting the Lord has placed them in (i.e., the world and its manifestations) is genuinely hostile to Jesus and his teaching. The point being that the believing journalist should expect some pushback as they do their “walking.”

2) The Christian journalist must expect their “walking in the light” to take time and be a natural course of affairs. You have no earthly destination, so enjoy the unhurried “walk.”

3) Your environment depends upon you for some enlightenment, even if it doesn’t acknowledge the dependency. It is important that you move around, shedding light in various places. Be sure and stay long enough for your neighbors to get adjusted to your light.

4) As a “walker,” the Christian journalist once again is reminded of his significance and value to the created but fallen society of Man. There will be no light in the newsroom without the lifestyle of the Christian journalist being evident to those around him.

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