Thursday, February 18, 2016

The horror of darkness

"The Plague of Darkness" by Gustave Dore

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 15:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold horror and great darkness fell upon him.
Then He said to Abram: Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years." Genesis 15:12,13

Have you ever had a dream from which you awoke with pounding heart, in a sweat of fear, about to scream? Abram's dream of darkness here may have been of that type. It seems the horror and darkness he felt were connected to the content of the dream itself—a prophecy of Israel's years in Egypt.

Remind you of anything? What about the ninth plague where God told Moses He would send "...darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt" and it came about - Exodus 10:21-22.

Such supernatural darkness came on the earth another time too—in the middle of the day of Jesus' crucifixion: "Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over the land" - Matthew 24:45.

Darkness is mentioned a lot in Scripture.
  • It is figurative of punishment.
* Israel was threatened with darkness for ignoring the prophets - Micah 3:6.
* Jesus said the faithless Jews of His day would be "cast into outer darkness" - Matthew 8:12.
* Peter talks of a place of punishment that is made of "...the blackness of darkness forever" - 2 Peter 2:17.
  • It often describes the actions and lifestyle of the spiritually lost and confused - Matthew 6:23.
  • But God's light dispels it - John 1:5.
  • Though our natural inclination is to prefer darkness... - John 3:19.
  • ... it is something we can choose to come out of - Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8
  • and live in light - 1 Thessalonians 5:4,5.

If there is anything that ties all of these thoughts together, it is the idea that darkness is a picture of life without God. No wonder God was so hurt and disappointed when the Israelites, en-route to Canaan, repeatedly wanted to turn around and return to Egypt. Unfortunately, all too often they are a picture of us, wanting to go back to the old ways of darkness, not realizing that that place is, finally, a place of total horror and godforsakeness.

Dear God, thank You for dispelling the darkness of our spiritual condition and destiny by sending Jesus. Help me to resist the lure of darkness whenever it tempts me. Amen.

MORE: The world's light
"Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life" John 8:12.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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