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The Promise of the Mighty Deliverer

(Isaiah 9:1-7)

Lesson 3 -- first quarter 1996
December 17, 1995

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications

I am 35 years old. I have long tried to cultivate at least the image of glacial calm. I tell you that to put the rest of this paragraph in perspective. Last night I had a horrendous nightmare. I awakened so shaken that I awoke my wife so she could pray for me (that's a first in 14 years of marriage). Then came a mysterious noise. It took a terrific amount of willpower to get up and investigate (I am the man of the house, you know!). Oh, how dark it seemed, and I so unnerved! But what a blessing to have two little nightlights burning "brightly"!

In broad daylight, I have no use for those nightlights. I have to look right at them to know they are even lit. On or off, I forget about them because there is no darkness (or unhinged nerves)! Remember, they are night lights. However, if I would have them succor me at night, I must make sure they are functional at all times. That seems too logical to state, yet it seems we often fail to see that in a spiritual sense. With this background, consider some things from our lesson text.

Those in desperate darkness most appreciate light. Furthermore, they can perceive the light more readily than those who are already in light (or who think they are enlightened). It is those who walk in darkness that best see the light. That means that in those dark moments in your life, your spirit is especially perceptive to the light which you need. I warn you, you will readily and eagerly embrace it and walk faithfully in its illumination. But when the darkness passes, it is dangerously natural to disregard the light and the lessons it taught you in the dark. So, my friend, don't forget or despise in the day what you have seen in the dark! That obedience to God which made so much sense in the dark makes just as much sense in the day.

Don't deny light to others just because you are already enlightened. At times I have caught myself selfishly using the flashlight on a dark trail. Since I am walking confidently, I forget those following me who also need illumination. As Christians with an undeservedly rich heritage, we may bask in our "spirituality" and neglect those who could benefit from it. What are we doing to spread light to those who are yet in darkness? What are we doing to help those who are struggling to get along with a penlight when we have a floodlight they could benefit from?

Don't mock those who live by light you think you don't need. I can almost imagine the grin tugging your mouth toward your ears when you read the first paragraph. Just remember my physical and emotional balance were affected by those little lights . . . and remember the times you yourself have had similar experiences. By the same token, as we consider the areas of obedience in the lives of others, let's not be guilty of mocking their "props." As an example I cite a brother who refuses to go to the coast because he knows the weakness of his lustful eyes. I haven't chosen that particular route, but God forbid I should make fun of his "extremism"! Mockery is born in the hearts of those who mistakenly perceive themselves as stronger than their brother.

Maintain your light in the day if you would have it see you through the dark. My friendly nightlights would have done me no good had I not made sure (during the day) that the bulbs were in working order. If my faith and obedience are not kept up when things go well and I am victorious, what makes me think they will bail me out when darkness looms?!

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