When speaking of darkness, many Christians talk about when Jesus died on the cross. In Mark 15, it says that darkness was over the whole land. As many of you know, I take people through the Bible chronologically, beginning in Genesis. Lately, as I have been reading through the Bible again, I’ve noticed themes. Excuse me while I nerd out for a moment. Did you know you can trace a certain theme through the whole Bible? The Bible may be a book written by over forty authors but really, there is One Author behind it. Darkness is a theme through the whole Bible. I began to get excited because darkness happens to be our theme in the blog roll this month.
I began to think about the times when I have seen darkness in the Bible. I’d like to take a little tour through the Bible to highlight when darkness is either mentioned or implied. Why am I doing this? Because if I am really honest, it’s not just darkness that is the theme. It’s what happens after the darkness that is amazing.
The first instance darkness is mentioned is in the beginning. Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” I want us to notice that God is present in the darkness. And I also want us to notice the next verse. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” What happens after the darkness? Light. There is always light coming after the darkness.
You see, darkness and light always go together. Often, when in a dark time, it is terribly difficult to see the light. However, just wait for it. It will come.
Let’s jump to another dark time. Jonah, a prophet in Israel, disobeyed God’s call to go to Nineveh and ended up in the belly of a great fish. Jonah stayed in that fish for three days and three nights (this is another theme we can trace through the whole Bible; three day stories! giddiness!) and though the text does not state Jonah was in darkness, it’s implied. Can you imagine how dark and murky and dank it would be down there? Jonah’s prayer says as much. “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and He answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice.” Jonah is spat out after this prayer and finishes his mission.
This next story gets me so flippin’ excited, I can hardly stand it. Let’s turn to Isaiah 36. In the time of Isaiah the prophet, Judah has walked away from the Lord and broken covenant with Him. Israel has already been exiled by the dreaded Assyrians because of their grievous sin. It seems Judah is next on the chopping block. The Assyrians are breathing down Judah’s neck, threatening, threatening, threatening. It is a really dark time for Judah! Judah has tried in vain to make alliances that would save them, to no avail. What is King Hezekiah going to do? Hezekiah cries out to God! This is an impossibly dark situation. It seems hopeless. Judah’s back is up against a wall.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God speaks to King Hezekiah. God assures Hezekiah that He will defend the city Himself. He tells him not to be afraid but watch what the Lord will do. It’s an incredible salvation story because the Assyrians are somehow defeated and turned away from Judah. God comes through in dark times.
Finally, I’d like to talk about the darkest time in history, the death of Jesus. I often wonder how Jesus could have submitted Himself to death on the cross. Many people assume it’s because He was fully God. Yes, but He was also fully human. I’d like to suggest another possibility. Jesus knew the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament. Jesus knew the stories of dark times and how God came through, time and time again. Jesus was present in the beginning. Jesus may not have known the outcome but Jesus could trust the Father because in the darkest of times, God comes through for His people. Each and every time. Even when it seems impossible. It’s written through the whole Bible. Light follows darkness. Dawn always comes. I’ve seen it through the entire Bible and guess what? I have seen in it my own life and lives of dear, dear friends and family. It’s a concrete truth.
Trust Him even in the darkest times. The Lord will not let you down.
I am blogging with some wonderful writers; Lindsey talks about a box of darkness here. Click on through to all the blogs and enjoy!