“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.” “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Exodus 10:21-23; John 1:4-5,14
Palpable darkness. After eight plagues of pests, sores, and destruction, this final one before death touched, paralyzed the whole person. Darkness does that– it creeps into our souls, depressing, deceiving, blinding, taking over so that we stumble to where we cannot move, resist, crawl out. We cannot even make sense of or understand our situation or surroundings. Only light sets free.
The plague of darkness in Egypt is a picture of how darkness overtakes our world, creeps into our impulses and thinking and conversations and habits until we do not even recognize it is there. It is all-encompassing, overwhelming. We wear masks, we say ‘fine thank you,’ we justify horrid sin because it is ‘harmless,’ virtual not ‘real.’ We placate ourselves by comparison with worse, we let down our guard by thinking ourselves strong, we allow the slow steady drip of darkness to course through our veins by hooking up naively with the culture. We deny the ugly and destructive tentacles of self-medication and self-deception that are choking us and our relationships, our perspective and health and ability to reason and cope.
When Truth breaks in, when the living word, Jesus, enters and takes up residence in our lives, He supernaturally pierces and overcomes the darkness. He exposes truth, He lays bare all that we hoped to deny and keep hidden. He discloses every secret and purpose of our hearts to untangle and make right our impossible messes, to bring conviction and cleansing, to heal brokenness into wholeness. He floods us with hope and sets us free. Why would we not come to Him, the great Searchlight, this Lover of our souls Who is full of grace and truth? (Mark 4:22; John 1:17; 8:12,31-32; 14:6; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 14:24-25)
“O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee.” ~12th Latin hymn, translated by John Neale (1851)
LORD, thank You that in the land, and heart, of deep darkness, Your light has shined. May I daily walk in it. Expose all that is dark in me for what it is, overcome it with Your grace, bring beauty for ashes. So shine Your light through me that all will fall facedown, know You are present, and worship You as King. (Isaiah 2:5; 9:2; 61:3; 1 Corinthians 14:25; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7)