The World is Dark
Every day, it seems that our world becomes a little darker. Another tragedy, another falling-out in a relationship, another person walking away from the Lord, more and more compromise with the truth of God’s Word, good being called evil and evil called good, when will it ever end?
Yet, is it possible I am simply starting to see more and more the seriousness of sin as I mature in my walk with the Lord?
To understand the world we live in today, we must open the Scriptures and see what God’s Word has to say about the darkness present in our world.
Turning all the way back to Genesis, we find that God created this world perfect. Yet, Adam & Eve chose to disobey the one rule God gave them and sin entered the world. With sin, came suffering, death, pain, evil, wickedness and separation from God.
It doesn’t take much reading beyond that passage to find out what mankind is like apart from God - vilely wicked and totally depraved.
Cain murders his brother because of unwillingness to humble himself before God and his jealousy of his brother Abel.
We see in the early days of human history, people lived roughly 900 years.
Within 2,000 years or roughly one lifespan after Adam died, the world is so corrupt God sends a worldwide flood to destroy the wicked. Only Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives are saved in the ark.
Later in history when God brings the people of Israel into the Promised Land under Joshua, the next generation completely turns away from the Lord. The book of Judges, 1 Kings & 2 Kings detail how quickly the Israelites turn away from the living God to worship worthless idols.
Fast forward to the present and we see people are no different today. We live in a culture that is all about me. For that matter, on their own, the human race always ultimately worships self. Either God is God or the god of self is reigning. There are only two religions in the world, Christianity and The Religion of Man. Either God’s Word or man’s word reigns supreme in the life of every human being.
The sin issue present today isn’t new as Romans 1 reminds us.
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” - Romans 1:29-31
This is the sad description of those who exchange the glory of the immortal God for the idols of this world. And it is nothing new. Ever since sin entered the world, this has been the case with the human race, as we have seen briefly looking at some Old Testament history.
So, what hope is there in this extremely dark world?
Praise God, for there is indeed hope. This hope is the beautiful truth of God’s love.
I was recently reading Psalm 139 and found it to be so encouraging as I walk through this life with all of its battles and trials.
Let’s look at it together.
“Yahweh, You have searched me, and You know me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, Yahweh, You know it altogether.
You hem me in behind and before. You laid Your hand on me. This knowledge is beyond me. It’s lofty. I can’t attain it.
Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there! If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me. The light around me will be night,’ even the darkness doesn’t hide from You, but the night shines as the day. The darkness is like light to You.” - Psalm 139:1-12
Isn’t this passage extremely comforting? Even in the midst of this dark world, I have a God who loves me more than I can ever comprehend!
There is really no need to comment on this passage, it is so straightforward, yet so deep with the riches of God’s love!
I find the last sentence in the above passage to be especially comforting. “The darkness is like light to You.”
Even at my young age, I’ve seen more darkness than I’d care to. So many people I am acquainted with, know and love are bound in darkness so black, it is enough to plunge one’s heart into total despair.
Yet in this passage, I am reminded that the darkness doesn’t hide anyone from the Lord’s sight. His power is so great, He is so mighty, He can reach anyone! How comforting is this to one weary of battle! God is able! Take heart! He is able!
The psalmist continues his psalm.
“For You formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. My frame wasn’t hidden from You, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In Your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast is their sum! If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I wake up, I am still with You.” - Psalm 139:14-18
Once again, the love of God in this passage is mind-blowing.
Despite our wretchedness in our own sinful human nature, God sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins and your sins. Whoever believes in Him, repenting of sin and receiving Him as Lord & Savior has eternal life and their sins blotted out. Wow. Glory be to His name and His name alone!
Also as an important side-note, in our culture of death, we would do well to take this passage to heart as we fight for the sanctity of life. Every human life is precious to God, even those still in the wombs of their mothers.
Yet, all of a sudden this Psalm takes a rather dark turn.
“If only You, God, would kill the wicked. Get away from me, you bloodthirsty men! For they speak against You wickedly. Your enemies take Your name in vain. Yahweh, don’t I hate those who hate You? Am I not grieved with those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred. They have become my enemies.” - Psalm 139:19-22
Why, in the middle of praising God’s love and care, does the psalmist begin to rant about the behavior of the wicked?
Well, it is pretty simple, the psalmist is like me, he’s human.
My friends, I am telling you, we should have a hatred of evil, for the utter destruction sin brings is horrific to witness. I’ve seen it too many times and there is a reason we should hate sin as God hates it. I spent a whole blog post speaking to the truth why we as Christians should hate sin as our God hates it. (Read "Hate This" here)
Secondly, there is an intense frustration in one’s heart when one sees how unchecked wickedness is in this world.
Speaking from my own personal experience, there is something so comforting and freeing to be brutally open and honest to God. Indeed, we see this pattern laid out for us in the Psalms. When we talk to God, we are to be completely open and honest with Him.
I tell God when I am frustrated, when I am having a hard time loving a difficult person in my life, when I am mad at Him, when I don’t understand what is going on. I am brutally honest with God about how I am feeling and what I am going through. Why not? He already knows what I am feeling and thinking anyway, so why come to Him with a fake front when I am hurting and struggling through life?
Yet, the psalmist doesn’t end on this note of ranting about the evil world he lives in, but rather he continues his psalm with a very fitting closing.
“Search me, God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” - Psalm 139:23-24
It is so easy for me to become angry and frustrated with those who just don’t get it and are living lives that are repulsive to the standards found in God's Word. Yet, I so quickly forget God’s patience with me. I’ve been a Christ follower for over 17 years now and God is still patiently chiseling away at me. There are still sins and temptations I wrestle with on a regular basis and He’s never given up on me. He is gentle and patient, but firm, as we work through these things together.
Not to mention, I so quickly forget that I too, at one time, was an enemy of God, just like these people in this Psalm. Scripture tells me God sent Jesus to die on the cross for me while I was a sinner and an enemy of Him. (Romans 5:6-10)
When I stand before Christ to give an account of life, I will be giving an account of MY life to God, not the life of another. (Romans 14:12) I am responsible for my heart, my choices, my actions and my decisions. In this dark world, it is easy for me to become more concerned about fixing others, rather than letting the Lord continue to cleanse any offensive way from my life. The psalmist realizes this and asks God for the grace to continue to draw closer to Him, letting the pruning shears of the Master Gardener cut off anything is bearing no fruit or that is bearing spoiled fruit.
So my prayer in this dark world is that Christ’s light would shine brightly through me. May others be attracted to the awesome and mighty God I serve, as they see the light of Christ shine brilliantly through this broken vessel.
Yes, this world might be dark, but the light of God is ever greater still, yes, infinitely so.
Don’t give up hope dear friends, no matter how deep the darkness a family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance might be in, God is able to pierce the blackest darkness with His brilliant light. God has never given up on us, so let us not give up on them either.
Eyes upon Him and may we humbly come to Him for His pruning and cleansing, that His light might radiate through us as believers all the more!
“You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14-16