Have you ever pondered God’s originality? There’s no need for Him to duplicate. People, snowflakes, fingerprints, all share His uniqueness. This genius carries over into His interactions with us. I’ve discovered something wonderful about Him. He loves to work in the dark.
“Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Psalm 139:12 (NASB)
I’ve spelunked America’s caves, and without artificial light, you can experience thick darkness. The kind that existed before God commanded light to shine. Because these elements are part of His toolbox, He maneuvers through darkness without difficulty. Just like light. While we fumble and stub toes, He’s busy answering our prayers and comforting us; performing the miraculous in our darkest moments.
As often happens under the right circumstances, people are known for igniting conflict. When the Hebrews were forming their new government following their freedom and “dry” water baptism through the Red Sea; problems arose with whose tribe would serve God directly in His tabernacle. The Lord’s solution was darkness. Each tribe submitted their rod to Moses, who placed all 12 in the tabernacle. God informed He would select the rod of His choice and everyone went off to sleep. In the quiet darkness with a dozen sticks, God famously went to work.
“Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.” Numbers 17:8 (NASB)
In complete darkness, God did the miraculous for His children. Like us, they sought direction and He made it unmistakable. A severed branch came alive and bore buds, blossoms, and ripe almonds. An impossibility became reality in three separate lifecycles. God condensed the growing season when displaying His desires in darkness.
We can likely relate to seasons of uncertainty, experiencing fruitlessness, or feeling severed ourselves. The Almighty gently teaches that being cut off, out of season, or left alone is not the end. While we are limited by the natural, He’s limitless as our Creator. We often question while struggling in the dark, while He moves about unencumbered.
God has no hindrances. Nothing prevents Him from helping or finding us. It’s easy to keep our eyes on the waves instead of Him, and sinking rather than walking results. Fortunately, our Savior is right there to rescue us with a mighty arm.
I’ve found misunderstanding Him will assuredly happen along with forgetting He can operate outside of our boundaries. How reassuring to identify His movements in the darkness; even performing miracles for us there.
Imagine Moses’ joy when entering the tabernacle on the morrow. Stepping inside to find 11 smooth sticks next to one teeming with life though wholly disconnected from it. That single rod pointed the way for generations yet to come; including ours.
Now when faced with decisions that require the Lord’s pristine oversight for my life, I readily take a page from Scripture to point me in the correct direction. God can answer me from anywhere He finds me, and in that cocooned darkness, He quietly prepares my answer.
Perhaps we need to take our concerns to this undisturbed haven more often. A safe place where we can lay our greatest needs before Him in the darkness of His tabernacle before going to sleep. Then share the delight of Moses in finding Heaven’s directives in three different categories.
For in God’s economy, He commands the lifeless to come forth from darkness—and it is so.
Through The Bible Devotions
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) 18“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Love…keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) Jesus said that this was one of the Laws that summed up all the others (Matthew 22:39,40). I’ll bet when you read that verse, the ‘bear a grudge’ part pricked your heart, or at least provoked a memory. We seem so ready to be offended in this day and age. Jesus warned us that this would be true (Matthew 24:12).
We have lauded self-esteem but forgotten to warn of pride. Pride sets itself above others and demands that others give us respect and honor. If we hear a word spoken against us, we readily forget all the words we have spoken against others and excommunicate that person from our love and grace. In the worst cases, we play the offense over and over in our minds until it festers and becomes an infection in our memories. Just to touch on it brings pain.
Believe it or not, the cause of all that is self, not the one who offended you. If we esteem others better than ourselves, we will examine their words to see if there is truth in them. If there is, we will apologize and adjust our life. If there is not, we will give those words to God and go on loving that person. How many times have we offended God? Does He harbor each offense and bring them up to you every time you want to pray?
Jesus said (paraphrase) that God will treat you as you treat others. It sounds like we better be very generous in our forgiveness, don’t you think?
Meditation: Who do I need to forgive and resume loving?
Streams in the Desert – February 28
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually (Heb. 13:15).
A city missionary, stumbling through the dirt of a dark entry, heard a voice say, “Who’s there, Honey?” Striking a match, he caught a vision of earthly want and suffering, of saintly trust and peace, “cut in ebony”–calm, appealing eyes set amid the wrinkles of a pinched, black face that lay on a tattered bed. It was a bitter night in February, and she had no fire, no fuel, no light. She had had no supper, no dinner, no breakfast. She seemed to have nothing at all but rheumatism and faith in God. One could not well be more completely exiled from all pleasantness of circumstances, yet the favorite song of this old creature ran:
Nobody knows de trouble I see,
Nobody knows but Jesus;
Nobody knows de trouble I see–
Sing Glory Hallelu!
Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down,
Sometimes I’m level on the groun’,
Sometimes the glory shines aroun’
Sing Glory Hallelu!
And so it went on: “Nobody knows de work I does, Nobody knows de griefs I has,” the constant refrain being the “Glory Hallelu!” until the last verse rose:
Nobody knows de joys I has,
Nobody knows but Jesus!
“Troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” It takes great Bible words to tell the cheer of that old negro auntie.
Remember Luther on his sick-bed. Between his groans he managed to preach on this wise: “These pains and trouble here are like the type which the printers set; as they look now, we have to read them backwards, and they seem to have no sense or meaning in them; but up yonder, when the Lord God prints us off in the life to come, we shall find they make brave reading.” Only we do not need to wait till then.
Remember Paul walking the hurricane deck amid a boiling sea, bidding the frightened crew “Be of good cheer,” Luther, the old negro auntie–all of them human sun-flowers.
—Wm. G. Garnett
“Stand before Pharaoh … ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me … In that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell … that you may know that I am the Lord.”’” – Exodus 8:20, 22 NKJV
Ready to deliver His people, God asked Moses to be His messenger, to speak His words to Pharaoh and all of Egypt. Initially, Moses resisted, telling God he was the wrong man. Finally, he agreed.
As Moses prayed, God gave him the words to say to Pharaoh. God also listened to Moses’ pleas on behalf of the Egyptians. Over time, Moses realized that he had no reason to fear as long as he stayed faithful and depended on God.
Today, some believers don’t seem ready to make the same kind of uncompromising commitment. Like Moses’ initial response, they seem reluctant. Hesitant. Uncertain. The Bible reminds us that God has a plan for each life. He calls and equips us to accomplish His purposes. He looks to see how we respond and whether we trust Him and are ready to move forward by faith.
Today, let God know that you are ready to do His will. Dedicate yourself to His timeless truths. Fill your mind and heart with His Word. Pray and listen to His voice. Declare His promises to be true in your life. Seek to live according to His principles. Be bold in your faith, trusting Him.
Do not give in to the pressure to compromise or worry about popular approval. You may face opposition but if you are faithful, you can trust God to protect and provide for you and use you to accomplish His purposes.