WALKING THROUGH THE DARKNESS
- Nancey McMurtry
- April 04, 2023
As almost everyone who will read this newsletter knows, the last act of creation by God on Day One was to speak light into existence. Gen. 1:3-5 says: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (KJV)
Following that act of creation, the Bible is replete with scriptures telling us that God is light and that God dwells in the light. 1 John 1:5 says "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” Distinct from the word Night, darkness became the word to mean the absence of God; people turning their backs on God; the state of a culture where sin is so pervasive that the light of God is diminished. It is in darkness.
How does a culture reach this point, especially a culture where God and the Church at one time had authority and respect? The United States is Exhibit 1 in answer to this question.
As time is measured it was not that long ago when churches were filled with congregants both Sunday morning and Sunday night; and prayer meeting on Wednesday night. A Bible verse was read in school rooms every morning. Even citizens who did not profess to be Christians knew scripture and the concept of sin was understood. Right from wrong was a principle inculcated in the culture. It was the America Norman Rockwell knew and depicted so eloquently in his paintings.
The culture did not change overnight, but little by little the Church acquiesced its clear understanding of God’s Word to more progressive thinkers and God slipped a little as The Authority of the nation. It is a scenario described by wise King Solomon in The Song of Solomon 2:15 where he says: “Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” (NKJV) Day by day the little sins creep in and unless they are caught and corrected some grapes are affected. Many little sins left unaddressed have spoiled the entire vine and the grapes are ruined. Spiritual darkness has crept in. At that point sins that affect more of the nation begin to appear and are accepted because no one called out the smaller sins.
In law enforcement this is known as the “broken windows theory.” When individuals who break windows are not arrested and made to pay for their crime, the next criminal act will be something larger, perhaps burglary or theft. And then you reach the point where stealing property valued under $1,000.00 is not a punishable crime. It is still a crime against the person whose property was stolen!
Society has just deemed it not worthy of punishment. And where is the Church, the representative of God in the nation? Sad to say, but many church leaders approve of this behavior. Spiritual darkness has increased.
I saw a quote recently that came across Facebook attributed to Islwyn Jeneins. He said, “If you want to lead the orchestra you must turn your back to the crowd.” It is an affront to God and a disservice to the congregants of a church when the leader turns his back on God and the Word of God in an attempt to appease the crowd. Unfortunately, it seems to happen so easily.
Think back to the Children of Israel who were captives in Egypt when God determined to set them free and lead them to the Promised Land. They were leaving that place of darkness in a hurry. In Exodus 12:11 the people were instructed to eat their Passover meal. “And thus, shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S Passover.” (KJV) God wanted them ready to leave that darkness and head for the light. But, at least one of the leaders packed that darkness in his luggage and carried it out of Egypt with him.
We read about it in Exodus 32. Moses had gone up the mountain to be with God and left Aaron in charge. When Moses had been gone almost 40 days a group of other leaders persuaded Aaron to take on the position of full leadership assuming that Moses was not coming back. And then the crowd demanded an idol. So, Aaron appeased the crowd and the golden calf was crafted. Knowing that he had sinned, he tried to keep some semblance of worship to God included so he decreed a feast to God to be held the next day. Just as Aaron did, church leaders fail miserably when they appease the crowd and attempt to throw some honor to God in the mix. They have erased the commandment to have no other gods above God Eternal.
Today we find ourselves living in the midst of deep spiritual darkness once again. It is not as deep as it was when Christ was born. At that time the Voice of God had been silent in the land for at least 400 years. And then the prophecy recorded in Isaiah 9:2 was fulfilled:
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (KJV)
The difference today is that we have the Light with us. God is still speaking, but the churches overall are not listening or responding. So, how do we as faithful followers of Christ find our way through this darkness other than to pray that God will tear down the Evil that is in our land and give us strength and grace to continue the fight?
How do we reach the people and begin a recovery of what the Church has lost? That is not to say that there are not righteous Christians involved in the fray everyday to bring the message of the Kingdom of God to this world. There certainly are, but to say that is a big job in this current darkness is a vast understatement.
It is my observation that God, in His mercy and providence, will sovereignly reach through this darkness and begin to call people to Him. In time, the Church will be forced to repent and right itself. I believe God is ready to throw out Light in places we would not expect.
I’ll use the example of Demar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills who was recently injured in a Monday night football game. His heart literally stopped on the field.
Millions of people were watching. The stands were filled. When the serious nature of his condition was known the game stopped; players were praying
on the sidelines and a group gathered at mid field to pray. Fans in the stands were in prayer. Millions more were praying in their homes or wherever they were watching the game.
For the first time in my remembrance an ESPN announcer prayed a prayer of faith for healing right on national television.
Demar’s family had asked for prayer and they got it. Players had prayer meetings in their homes following the game. And God responded. Demar received his miracle. God spread His light all over the NFL and millions of ordinary fans. No one but God could have orchestrated the events that followed that injury.
In the days to come I believe we are going to see God reaching out in more ways than we could possibly imagine. The Children of Israel did not break the darkness of slavery in Egypt. God sovereignly did it Himself, but the children had to be ready to move.
The Church, as it is, has to put itself together and start moving. Romans 13:12-13 gives us instruction:
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (KJV)
The admonition is to walk through the darkness while casting off any work of darkness in our lives. We walk through the darkness as though we are walking in the light after having put on the armor of light. We walk according to God’s Word and the principles of His Kingdom. When we walk in light, we are shedding light into the darkness. God will honor His promise to be with us and He will do the rest.
Zach Williams wrote what I consider to be a profound song based on Jesus saying that He will never leave us or forsake us. The words to the chorus of the song There Was Jesus are:
“In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing and the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been and where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus”
God is with us every step of the way through this current spiritual darkness.Keep walking!