Here in these verses, God has laid out for us the difference between those who are His children and those who are children of wrath. The believer and the unbeliever are contrasted. The characteristics of the righteous and the wicked are spelled out. In these verses we find a portrait of the grand antithesis between the faithful fear of God and the foolish love of the world!
Finally, though dark may be his road, the righteous man has the Light of the world, the Sun of Righteousness as his guard, guide, and friend. ("Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.") The dark path only makes him love and trust the Bright and Morning Star all the more. "He shall find God all-sufficient to him" (Henry). He shall learn that "even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day." (Ps 139:12). Outward darkness shall always be scattered by heavenly light! Beloved, the Son is always shining even in our darkest nights.
In verse 11, Isaiah redirects his portrait and sketches out the marks of the wicked for us. The colors of the pallet change. These are dark and shadowy and the real light that previously pierced the darkness for the righteous man can not be found on this section of the canvas. The unrighteous man seeks to make his own light. "Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand; and you will lie down in torment."
Mr. Henry sums up this section quite well. "Presuming sinners are warned not to trust in themselves. They kindle a fire, and walk in the light of that fire. They depend on their own righteousness, and burn their incense, with that fire (as Nadab and Abihu) and not with the fire from heaven.
"They compass themselves about with sparks of their own kindling. As they trust in their own righteousness, and not in the righteousness of Christ, so they place their happiness in their worldly possessions and enjoyments and not in the favor of God. Creature-comforts are as sparks, short-lived and soon gone. They are ironically told to walk in the light of their own fire. Those that make the world their comfort, and their own righteousness their confidence, will meet with bitterness in the end." The wicked will "lie down in torment" and "meet with bitterness in the end." It is not a pretty picture. It was once my picture and I am beyond finding words to express my gratitude at God's merciful intervention in redrawing the lines, colors and theme of my own personal portrait!
There you have it: faithful fear or flickering firebrands. Forever hangs in the balance of these scales. Here is the gospel laid before us. Are we seeking to live by our own mustered up light? A light that may momentarily snap, crackle and pop like the sparks of a campfire. It makes a loud noise but then is no more. Or are we seeking to live by the light of the One who is Light eternal and unchanging? The darkness is as light to Him and His flame never dies.
Walking in Light,
"A godly man's way may be melancholy, but his end shall be peace and everlasting light. A wicked man's way may be pleasant, but his end will be eternal darkness." (Matthew Henry)