Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Light in the Darkness

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness.
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
(Psalm 112:4)

No matter how dark things may seem, how intractable the economy may appear, how troublesome the times may look, there is always light for the upright. Who are the upright? The Hebrew word here refers to what is straight, level, right, pleasing, correct, straightforward, just, fitting or proper. It is often used of those who do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

There are many who do what is right in their own eyes, but these are not commended before God. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and repeated again at Proverbs 16:25). No, the psalm writer is talking about those who do what is right in the eyes of Yahweh: “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments” (Psalm 112:1). This psalm tells about what the man who fears Yahweh looks like and what the blessing of Yahweh looks like in his life (see Divine Portrait of Prosperity: Psalm 112). He is gracious, full of compassion and righteous (he keeps covenant and conducts himself in a way that is just). That is just the way Yahweh is described in Psalm 116:5: “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful.”

The upright always have light in the darkness. This does not mean that darkness will never enter his life; indeed, darkness may be all around him. But God gives him light in the midst of it so he can see and know the blessing of God. Remember the ninth plague that came on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt when he refused to let the children of Israel go?
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10:21-23)
Darkness — a thick darkness that could be felt! — covered all the land of Egypt so no one could see or do anything. It was for them a fearful darkness. No so for the people of God: “But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” That is always God’s way with His people. In the Old Testament, and during a dark time, the prophet Isaiah announced a new day that was coming.
Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
(Isaiah 60:1-3)
In the New Testament, this light is revealed. “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14). “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). He is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1: 9). “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).

There is nothing in the darkness or of the darkness that can harm those who belong to God through faith in Jesus the Messiah. In Him we are made right with God. In Him, we are empowered by the Spirit of God to live out the life of Jesus in the world. Even in the darkness of the world, the light arises for us and the glory of the Lord shines on us. What the psalm writer says of the upright is for all who will take hold of it by faith:
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is established;
He will not be afraid.
(Psalm 112:6-8)
Do not be shaken or be afraid of the dark. Put your trust in God; light will arise.