One of my favorite songs by Coldplay is Fix You off their album X&Y. And while it seems that everyone has a different opinion about the meaning of the song, there is something about the song that grabs me each time I hear it. I love the way it begins with a smooth yet somber pipe organ. And then as it moves into the chorus the piano slowly takes over, which gives way to the acoustic guitar. Building the whole way till it crescendos at the bridge, backed by a driving drum beat which drops out for a spacious outro carried home by the piano.
I know…. a little obsessive description of the song, huh?
But the line that gets me is the first line of the chorus, “lights will guide you home.” Whenever I listen to the song I always imagine a house in the evening with a big picture window by the front door. And in that picture widow, every night, is a candle lighting the way home. Night after night the candle stands watch as the parents of the house eagerly await the return of their children.
As I have read through the story of the kings of Israel the same image comes to mind. In a few different places throughout 1 & 2 Kings, there is a subtle yet profound reference to a light that stand watch in Jerusalem as God awaits the return of his people.
I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. (1 Kg. 11v36)
Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. (1 Kg 15v4)
Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever. (2 Kg 8v19)
In this story God is a faithful Father always setting out a light to guide his children home. And even though their return home takes longer than God might desire, he never gives up hope. Even when we cross over into the NT, we find that the lamp is still burning in Jerusalem and God, in fact, makes it that much brighter.
As you read through this story the natural question that comes to mind is, “What or who is the lamp?” And it’s only when we get to the gospel of John that the answer explicitly emerges. In John 8 Jesus is in Jerusalem, the city of David, during the Festival of Tabernacles when he says that He is the light. While teaching, Jesus says,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8v12)
The light of God is standing watch all around us all the time, even when we aren’t looking for it. And as more and more people receive God’s light, His light gets brighter and brighter. Because not only is Jesus the light, but He also says that we are the light.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5v14-16)
Unlike the King’s of Israel, may our eyes be attracted to the light. May we receive God’s light and walk in it. May the light of Jesus shine through us into the world, so that the light of God may guide people home.