Many years ago, I took several of my Irish youth on a walk at night deep into a forest park that many of them feared for superstitious reasons. I wanted to show them how penetrating light can be in darkness. As we traversed the trail deep into the forest, we tripped over roots and strayed off the path occasionally into the thicket. The deeper into the woods we walked, the more their fear became apparent. I admit even my heart was beating a little faster.
The darkness was oppressive with the cloudy evening keeping all natural light at bay. As we sat under an old oak tree, I sensed their fear deepening, so I took out a match and lit it. Almost instantly, their fear subsided (and the boogie monsters fled).
It was such a small flame, but in its tiny flicker was the power to slice through the oppressive darkness. With one small flame, fear was banished. Match after match, we made our way back to our cars without tripping over roots or getting snagged in the thicket.
We get our introduction to the theme of light very early on in scripture (Genesis 1, in fact). At the very beginning of all things, God made Light. This was a different kind of light than we see on the 4th day of creation where he made the sun, moon, and stars to govern the seasons and days. This was a "special" light -- God's Truth.
It's as though God is saying, "My Truth will exist before anything else and will be prevalent in all of creation." God's presence permeates everything. When he said, "Let there be light", he was saying, "Let my presence be in it all." We see the presence of God's Truth running all throughout the redemptive story of scripture as "light"!
Here's what we know about God's light:
1] This light leads God's people. The Israelites after finding themselves in the wilderness were led by a pillar of fire in the darkness (Exodus 13:21) in the same way we are led by the light of God's Word (Psalm 119:105). Light has always led God's people.
2] This light is a blessing to God's people. Just as my kids seek my attention and blessing with every "daddy look at me" game, we want God's favor and blessing. While the Hebrew people were wandering the desert, Moses and Aaron were instructed by God to encourage the people with this familiar blessing: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to SHINE upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." When God shines his Truth upon us, we are blessed.
3] This light is found in Jesus. John 1:9 says, "The TRUE LIGHT that gives light to everyone was coming into the world." Jesus was that light. The coming of Jesus brought God's light to us. When we see Jesus, we see God!
4] This light is the centerpiece of eternity. From Genesis to Revelation, light is a part of the redemption story. At the Renewal of All Things, we see that night no longer exists and we will not need the sun to shine, because God will give us light (Revelation 21:23 and 22:5).
From Genesis to the Wilderness to Jesus to the Renewal of All Things, the light of God's Truth is at the center of it all.
Let there be light!