Walking in Darkness

                                     Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,

                                   trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  

                                                                                               Isaiah 50:10

     Have you ever experienced total darkness, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face?  I have experienced this while traversing caves in Missouri on several occasions.  You can imagine what that is like.  If it were not for a flashlight, you would reach out with your hand or foot not knowing whether there was a stone wall, a jagged ledge, or a drop off in front of you.  A friend of mine was once lost in the mountains of Washington State near Mt. Rainier.  As we waited for him on the trail in the darkness, we were relieved to finally see him tumble through the woods.  I can still remember his description of the terror he felt as he groped his way through the woods to the trail.  

     Isaiah in the above passage is describing this from a different perspective, one with which we are all familiar.  It is not material darkness, which is but transient.  It is far worse.  It is a darkness that hovers over us wherever we go, lasting for days, weeks or even months.  It is a darkness which surrounds our spirit, creating a constant awareness of not knowing which way to go or what to do.  It lasts throughout other activities and events of our lives, casting a continuous cloud over us.  The causes of this darkness are multiple   The accumulation of debt, for example, may be increasing to the extent that it consumes our future and we see no way out of its darkness.  Close relationships may be damaged so severely that there is no apparent reconciliation.  No job openings or dead end jobs for others may create darkness in the lives of some.  For others, it may be a chronic unrelenting illness for which there is no cure.  In all of these there is a search for some light in the paths ahead, but there is but darkness surrounding us. 

     It is to these particular situations where we walk in darkness that these words are given to us.  “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”  What does it mean to trust in the name of the LORD?  Proverbs 18:10 states that “The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.”  How do we run to the name of the LORD?  The LORD’s name signifies who He is.  It describes His character.  His name, by which He appeared to Moses is Jehovah (which we write as LORD), means that He is the “Becoming One.”  He will become all we need him to be.  There are multiple scriptures which reveal illustrations of all this means to us.  His name is given to us in the book of Judges as Jehovah-Shalom, (He is our Peace).  In Jeremiah we learn that His Name is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, (The LORD is our righteousness).  In Genesis, we experience with Abraham that His name is Jehovah-Jireh, (The LORD will provide).  In the Psalms we find Him as Jehovah-Raah, (The LORD is our shepherd).  The children of Israel experienced Him as  Jehovah-Nissi, (The LORD is our banner).  He is the One we can come to with any need in prayer. They also experienced Him as Jehovah-Rapha, (The LORD Is our healer).  In the middle of seventy years of darkness the children of Israel realized in the last verse of Ezekiel that even in the bleakness of their surroundings that the name of the LORD Is Jehovah-Shammah, (The LORD is there).

     In our home, we have a hallway stretching down the middle of the house for fifty feet.  It is less that four feet in width and totally devoid of light at night.  A person walking down that hallway at night is in total darkness.  To turn on the light would wake up others sleeping in adjacent bedrooms.  There is something, however, in which I trust that keeps me from bumping into the walls.  It is the presence of a motion detector at the end of the hall.  I find that if I start walking toward the end of the hall that the motion detector will light up.  As long as I keep walking and walk directly toward it, trusting in its guidance, I will be on a direct and safe path in the dark.  

     In all our experiences of darkness, the LORD has an answer.  His answer is to be found in His name.  It is by looking steadfastly to Him as we walk in darkness that He reveals Himself to us as the One who is present with us, Who will answer our prayer, Who is our righteousness, our Shepherd, our Healer and the One who will become all that we need.  As surely as I am kept safe by walking toward the motion detector in the darkness of our hallway, I am secure as I fix my eyes on Him and keep walking, trusting in the name of the LORD and relying on my God.      

     The nation of Israel was about to enter into four hundred years of darkness.  No new vision was to be given.  No additional revelations were to be provided.  The voice of prophets was not be be heard during this time.  Yet the LORD spoke to them about His relationship with them during these years of darkness.  “Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard.  A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.  ‘They will be mine,’ says the LORD Almighty ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession.  I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.’”  Malachi 3:16-17  Instead of “honor” in verse sixteen, some translations render this as “to esteem,” or to have “thought on His name.”   The thought is the same.  It is that of trust in His name and relying on their God.  They looked to the One with infinite love, perfect knowledge and complete control to be all they needed Him to be.  The LORD regarded them as His treasured possession.  They would be spared from anything that would hinder God’s perfect work in them for His Glory and for their eternal good.   That is also God’s promise to us we face darkness with its many origins and varied forms.  As you trust in His name, you become His treasured possession and are assured of safe travel until you reach the loving arms of our LORD Himself.   

In Christ, Richard Spann   

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