Friday, April 22, 2016

The Beautiful Discrimination of God

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.' So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived." (Exodus 10:21-23) 

“…darkness spreads…” 

Darkness isn’t something, it’s the absense of something. You don’t produce darkness. The only way to make a place dark is to blot out the light, or for the light to go away.  As I read these words I am made aware of how present God is in this world—even among the godless. Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount that “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good…” I find two words so fascinating in this statement, “his” and “evil”. God created light (Gen. 1:3). He is light (1 John 1:5). Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). In Heaven we will need no sun because God’s presence alone will be our light (Rev. 21:23). Darkness spreads only when God is blotted out, or when he withdraws. The Egyptians, though they did not know God, enjoyed the blessings of his light (Mat. 5:45). And when the light withdrew it was a horrible and terrifying experience.

“…darkness that can be felt… total darkness covered all Egypt for three days." 

I’ve only experienced total darkness in brief moments, like hiding in a dark room as a child while playing hide-and-go-seek. Even though it was a little creepy, it wasn’t truly scary because I knew the light switch was on the wall right beside the door. If we're in control, or at least think we are, darkness is tolerable. But when you find yourself in total darkness and you have no way to turn on the light—those kinds of experiences melt hearts.

“No one could see anyone else or move about…” 

Without light we can’t function.

“Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.” 

God does not have favorites (Rom. 2:11), but he most certainly does discriminate between light and darkness.  He separates those who are sheep from those who are goats (Mat. 25:32). I am encouraged by this statement. Christ followers need never fear his wrath (Rom. 8:1, Eph. 2:3-5, Rev. 7:3). This doesn’t mean life will be easier for Christ followers. Truly, this world is a broken place, filled with frustrations and trials, and while God’s wrath is not set against us, the wrath of the dark one and of unbelievers is palpable. Indeed, it is this wrath that is the root source of our tribulation (2 Tim. 3:12, Rev. 7:14). But friend, stand firm on this precious promise, “For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)  That light will go with you, to guide, encourage and empower you unto faithfulness wherever you go (Josh. 1:9).  Stand firm in His light today!

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Until next time...