Thursday, June 16, 2005

Darkness and Light

We spent the first day back in the world after church camp having dinner and watching the sun set at Gluttons' Bay near The Esplanade.

The Singapore skyline and The Durians actually managed to look quite ok pretty in the failing light of day.

Lack of light has always beneficial for hiding flaws, imperfections and artificiality. Which may explain why the obvious hideousness of painted trompe l'oeils in gardens was overlooked (and even appreciated!) in the dark ages without artificial lighting-on-demand, or why so-called "romantic" spots are almost always pitch dark except for a frail puny candle or two (and loads of mozzies).

We know that in ordering the world, God called light out of the darkness and saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4). The rest of the Bible takes light figuratively to be good and to be of God. The LORD's presence is bright (2 Samuel 22:13), light dwells with him (Daniel 2:22). In fact, God himself is light, in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). He is a lamp that turns darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29).

Fundamentally, this means more than bringing happiness or joy (although these would be natural by-products). God brings light to darkness by revealing his ways and his plan and design to humans. The world might seem chaotic, disorder, uncertain, scary and dark to us, but God knows what lies in darkness (Daniel 2:22). He reveals deep and hidden things and brings deep shadows into the light (Job 12:22).

God brought the light of revelation to people gradually through the thousands of years of human history. Through the prophets, many hundreds of years BC, he promised,"The people walking in darkness will a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light shall dawn (Isaiah 9:2). I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16).

His promise of true and full light came in the person of Jesus. Jesus was the light that shone in the darkness, but the darkness of humanity did not understand and has not understood it (John 1:5).

Why not? Why wouldn't anyone want to be healed of their blindness, disorientation and fearful wanderings in complete darkness and be able to see where they were going and set out on their journey in full confidence?

Because men loved and continue to love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19) and far too ugly to be seen in the harshness of light.

Yet to some of us resolutely hiding in the darkness, God gave this light. For God, who said,"Let light shine out of darkness," [Genesis 1:3] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

If Jesus is the light of the world, then whoever follows him will never walk in darkness, the darkness of disorder, fear and death, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).

God is light, and Jesus is light. They are trustworthy and they tell us the truth about reality and the world. We receive this light and truth when we listen to them speak in the Bible.

Many people from different DGs have been saying how they wanted "a break from bible study". And how it is "very sian to read the Bible every day" because the Bible "always says the same thing, very boring lah".

That's the whole point of the Bible. Its job is to keep pointing us in the same direction: away from ourselves and the desires of the world (deep darkness) and towards God and his ultimate revelation in his Son, Jesus Christ (true light). To stop reading the Bible is akin to wandering around afraid and lost in complete darkness, then receiving a lamp to light our paths and then casting away the lamp because it is "too sian" and "too boring" to hold on to it. Daily immersion in God's word is the lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105) that keeps us on the straight and narrow and safe and solid path. Without it, it is all too easy to wander off into quicksand or fall away into a deep ravine. After all, the Sirens and sparkling artificial lights in the distance seem so pretty in the darkness.

And proper Bible reading isn't not boring at all! Yes, it is the same message, but it is the same message told in many different ways in so many different cultures, nations and times. And the more we study it, the more we realise how utterly magnificent and wonderful our God is and then how privileged and honoured we are to be able to have a relationship with him, why, even talk with him and call him "Dad"!

And so as Peter wrote,
we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19)

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home