The Darkness Of Trial and Terror
Exodus 20:21 “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." Wait a minute. In 1 John 1:5; the bible says, "God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” and Jesus said, “I am the light of the World.” What do you mean, the thick darkness where God was? Understand; it was not His darkness for He is light and in Him there is no darkness. It is our darkness that tries Him. It is our worry and difficulty and unbelief that surrounds Him. God is in darkness, the darkness of our history. When Satan cast his shadow over Eden and stole our heritage from our forefathers and birthed in the human race death, there come walking in the cool of the day, in their darkness, a God who said, "Where art thou." Don’t you think that the omnipotent, omniscient, ever-present God knew where they were? Of course He did. The question was for their benefit. God wanted them to know where they were spiritually! He wanted them to have an understanding of what they had done and it’s consequences.
When God looked at the world and said, "I'm going to destroy the world", Noah found grace in the eyes of God. When the darkness of judgment came God was in it. You can take every moment in the history of Egypt, when they were slaves under Pharaoh or captives in Babylon, it matters not, there was not a moment when God was not there, among His people, in the midst of their darkness, brought about by their sin. Yet, though the nation was suffering the consequences of their sin and disobedience to God, He never left them or forsook them. He was there in the fire with the three Hebrew children. He was there in the Lion’s den with Daniel. He was with Joseph in the prison of Pharaoh.
Look at our own contemporary history in the past 100 years. You might say, “Where was God when 6 million Jews were exterminated by Nazi Germany.” God was there and out of that tragedy we call the Holocaust, He birthed the nation of Israel. God is working in the midst of all the problems and troubles of His people. He is working in the midst of all their sins and unbelief, even when He is chastising them with judgment. If you want to know God's time clock look at Israel. Forget what the U.N. is doing and forget what the U.S. doing. The Jews had been so prosperous in Europe before the holocaust they would never have returned to their home land had God not used that tragedy in history to birth the nation and bring them back to the land according to His own word and promise to them. Even when we are untrue and unfaithful to Him, as Israel was, God is still faithful to Himself and therefore He is faithful to His Word and His promises. They are not dependant upon man or what man is doing, but only upon the sovereignty of God. It's true in history. The sovereign hand of God is and has always been working and in control of history, both that of Israel and of the world. No matter what has happened in history or will happen before Jesus returns, nothing will happen or go beyond the boundaries of His sovereign control and He will fulfill all His Word and His promises and all Bible prophecy must be fulfilled.
We have to understand that history is merely the playing out of what God told us, what He foretold and spoke centuries ago, what He determined to be from eternity. Just as He predicted all the facts of Jesus life and death and resurrection centuries before it happened. As He predicted what Judas would do centuries before He was born. As He told us about the kingdoms of this world in Daniel and Revelation and named a man called Cyrus, by name, a century before He was born and told how He would carry out His purpose and through Him the Jews would be allowed to go back to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians (Ezra 1:2-4; Isaiah 44:24-28). He foretold us of the great Roman empire, the empires of Alexander the Great and what would become of it and so much more. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:19; “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” More than just the surface text of the law, for God’s Word is multi-layered. There is far more than just the surface text. All of history past and future until the end of time is written within the Word of God, even specifics within it in what is called the Bible Codes.
He is not only in the Darkness of history but He is in the darkness of your Personal problems and Tragedy. It says the people stood afar off. That has been my experience. When your going through a lot you come to where you just don't know what to do what you know you should do and what you need to do, the very thing that will help you recover and come out of your trial, you stand afar off. Especially if you have failed in some way or fallen into sin, because the church likes to shoot it's wounded, step on them and try to make sure they never rise again. The church practices cutting off their fallen and wounded instead of practicing restoration. The people stood afar off. You don't know what to do in your personal tragedy. You don’t have all the answers. You don’t know the outcome and what is going to happen. Whether it is personal failure, death of a loved one or close friend, personal or business disappointment, bankruptcy, divorce, whatever it might be. They didn't know what to say or do and so they stood afar off – from the very one who could turn their darkness into light, turn their fear into faith, turn their trial into triumph, their loss into gain, their defeat into victory.
I heard a pastor tell the story of how when his father died, a well-meaning religious person came up and said, "well it must be the Lord's will. The Lord has just blessed you." If that has happened to you, then at that moment in life you probably didn't feel too blessed and you weren't too happy, but sad, because this is a normal human reaction. You had questions in your mind, why this, why me, why now. Why did my son or daughter have to die? Why did this have to happen to me at this time? You don't have any answers, you don't know what to say or even think because you are in a time of personal darkness. When you are going through a personal tragedy you cannot glibly say, “praise the Lord”. The last thing you want to hear is someone walking up to you that think they have all the answers and making some superficial, un-thought out remark. And yes, sometimes God is silent because He is a gentlemen and there are times and moments in your life that even He will not disturb.
I remember when the closest person to me in life, my pastor, Pastor Rajan died. At first he had a heart attack and was lying in bed, barely alive. He was my spiritual father and much more. He had taken me in like a son and treated me as his own son. Auntie Rajan and I were fasting and praying for his physical healing and for the Lord not to take him, until the Lord revealed that it was not His will to physically heal him, but to take him home to his eternal reward, to be with Him in glory. They I remember praying, Lord if that is your will; then take your servant home, only don’t let him continue to suffer. As much as I didn’t want to loose him, as much as I though I needed him, as did his wife and children, as much as I wanted to see him again and had many things I wanted to talk over with him, more I didn’t want him to continue to suffer in his physical body. If the way to his healing and being free from suffering, was to be healed fully and permanently, through leaving his earthly body, then that was want I wanted for him because I loved him. After Auntie and I accepted the will of God, the Lord took him home. Yes I miss him. Yes, at times when I think of him I cry a little because I loved him and I miss him greatly. But the greatest joy is the thought of being with him once again in eternity, through that is not as great as the joy that I will have in seeing Jesus, the one who died for me.
As we sing in the song “Standing somewhere in the shadows you'll find Jesus. He's the only one who cares and understands. Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find Him. And you'll know Him by the nail prints in His hands.” If you will think about it, in the moment of your tragedy, all may be silent, but there is a hand with a nail print on your shoulder. God knows there are times there is no need to say anything and no benefit. God knows there is a time for all things, including a time for just silent support, just being there without saying a word. He, who said there is a time for all things, knows the time for all things and what time it is in your life. He knows what you are going through and He cares and so He has told us; “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
There is the darkness in history, the darkness of personal tragedy and also the darkness of sin. It is still necessary to preach against sin. It is still necessary to stand up and say abortion is a sin, homosexuality is a sin, adultery is a sin, lying is a sin, stealing is a sin, prejudice is a sin and so on. And somehow the revival has not come to us is because somehow we have thought we could bypass personal repentance and still have revival. But standing in the deep darkness of our greatest failures, in the deep dark moments of our sin, we have a savior. The Bible says, "whoso covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsakes his sin shall have mercy." It is time that the American church confessed and said, no we haven't heard the warnings of heaven in the circumstances of history and our own history, we have forsaken the alters and removed them, the television has more time than the Bible in our homes. Our children have everything they could want but they don't know anything about the Word of God. Sometimes it gets discouraging that things are so bad and nothing seems to be changing the situation. The biggest reason why sin is covered up in the church today in America is because the church doesn't know how to forgive and restore. I'm afraid that the sinner is afraid that if they were to come clean and confess their sins, they would be shunned and turned out rather than loved and healed. So we hide behind our little facade. Or if we hear about a problem, we act so holy like it never happened to us and couldn't happen to us. The church is so full of smug self-righteous hypocrites who have never dealt with their sin because no one will allow another to confess their sin and repent without then judging them, marking them as less than worthy to be a Christian and treating them with contempt. But if God is in the middle of the darkness of our sin and in the middle of our mess, where ought the church to be, if not a hospital for sinners. What does the scripture say? If you see a brother taken in a fault or sin, condemn him in a spirit of arrogance with a holier than thou attitude? Did I misquote that? That is the situation today. A legalistic church has no place for repentance and mercy, no place for forgiveness and love, remembering that we too had to be forgiven and without His forgiveness where would we be? Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Restore is the same Greek word used in scripture in Matthew 4:21, when the disciples were mending their nets. It means to mend it so that it will be useful again for the purpose for which it was made. You that are spiritual; mend the net that is broken so that once again it can be thrown into the sea and reap a harvest for the master. It is His word. And to do it in a spirit of meekness, so you won't also be tempted. Why? Because if you don’t you are setting yourself up for a fall because Proverbs 16:18 is still true; “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Everything that other person did that you don't want to forgive, even when it had nothing to do with you, you have either done or are capable of doing outside of the grace of God. Outside the grace and control of the Holy Spirit your flesh is just as fallen and capable of any sin. He knows our frame and that we are but dust. The thing that should help us to walk uprightly is knowing that we can't do without Him or do anything without Him. The only reason we don't do worse is not because we are better or any good in ourselves but because we have enough grace and knowledge to say no to that sin. A wise man once said about a skid row bum, "but for the grace of God, there go I" So what do we have to be self-righteous about? And if we have been delivered from the power of sin, we need to reach down a hand to the one in sin to restore them to the love and forgiveness of God. If you do not forgive another their sin, if you hold in you a sin another has committed against them, that sin will become your sin and it will bear fruit in your life. That is the reality of John 20:23 “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” By holding sin against another, you open the door for the enemy to it against you and to come against you in the same way. The fruit may not be the exact same, but the root will be. If it is a sexual sin you have held against another, you will fall into sexual temptation. It may manifest itself differently, but it will surely come.
In the darkness of sin, He is there. You say, how can you prove it? First, in the darkness of Gethsemane, when he fought a spiritual battle through that dark night all alone, all his disciples having gone to sleep, the cup that He put to his lips and drank was not His own. It was my cup and your cup and He drank it alone in the darkness. He took upon Himself, our sins. He bore our sins in His body on the cross. Then at the noonday as He was hanging upon the cross, a thick darkness came upon the earth and covered Him such that one could not see without a torch. And out of the darkness He cried out, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me. That was the man Jesus crying out, as in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he cried, "father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me". But God the Father had not forsaken His Son, for they are and were eternally one and the Father couldn't separate Himself or divorce Himself from His Son, who was also eternal God for even a moment. Jesus was God come in the flesh, having put aside the prerogatives of deity, but was still fully God, though fully man. Scripture says, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." And a moment later the same Jesus cried, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." God the Father was with the Son in the darkness of death that He faced and the cup of sin that He bore. A song we sing says, "might the sun in darkness hide and shut our glories in.”
Are you in an hour of darkness? Does darkness cover you life or a situation in your life? Does darkness cover you because of failure or sin? Run to Jesus, who is and is The Way, The Truth and The Light. Don’t hide from Him in the darkness of your need and spiritual poverty. Run to the Light of Christ and let Him bring you out of the darkness into His glorious light. Let the light shine into your darkness and dispel that darkness. Let Him become your “Light of Life.”
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