The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from 2 Kings 20; Ps. 75-76, 92; Isa. 36-56; 1 Peter 1-5; and 2 Peter 1-2.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to become lost and to seem to be in the dark? I was driving by the church we recently restarted, and I drove right by it! It was dark, and we had failed to turn on some needed lights.
The Scripture reading this week includes a large portion of Isaiah and several Psalms, as well as the writings of Peter. It was Isaiah that struck a piercing word that has meaning for the reader as much now as ever. Isaiah 50:10-11 (NKJV) screams out a warning and a promise:
“Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God. Look, all of you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled—This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment.”
How many times have you felt God was leaving you “in the dark?” Many times, I have heard—from families I pastor, students I teach or from my own kids—the inevitable question: “Where is God when you really need Him?”
There are other types of darkness than literal, physical darkness, and these can feel much more overpowering to us. There is the darkness of the soul, of which the ancients would so often speak. There is the darkness of lost love and enduring loneliness. There is the darkness of waiting for the answer of healing, supplied finances or needed comfort.
I wonder at people who can wait with grace when the heavens seem so dark. The thought of an empty, dark house comes to mind. Calling out “Is anyone home?” seems similar to prayers I have prayed. But Isaiah captures something in chapter 50. When it is dark—really dark—those who fear the Lord will wait for God to light their path. Those who are tempted to “light their own torches” will find no answer but unrest.
Think about our biblical heroes who chose not to wait for the Lord but lit their own “false fires” to make their own way:
- Abraham had a promise from God, a clear and expectant word. But he lit his own fire with his wife’s handmaiden, and this false fire created generations of unrest.
- King David, instead of seeking the Lord about his next campaign, lit a false fire with the wife of another man, spiraling into a saga of death, betrayal and the loss of a child.
The stories continue to the present day. I heard recently of another great leader who chose to light a false fire of desire, which has now crippled the church and brought deep unrest to many families. The “illumination” that we think we see from false fire is not a path to comfort but to real torment.
Yet, there is hope! Learn from these examples. Wait on the Lord. He will speak and guide us, even in darkness. Yes, the passage is clear that we all will walk in some form of darkness—but fear the Lord, and wait on Him alone to light your way.
When your marriage seems dark, look to the Lord to light your way. When you feel that the path ahead is unclear, wait for the Lord and obey what He commands. False firelight is only temporary. But the light of God is a sure pathway to the eternal, even when the present seems so dark.
By: Dan Stewart, senior pastor of Graystone Chapel (Alta Loma Foursquare Church) in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit FoursquareJournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare’s 2013 Life Journal project.