Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Evangel Tabernacle | September 16, 2019

Scroll to top

Top

No Comments

When Walking In Darkness

When Walking In Darkness

| On 22, Aug 2019

By: Fernand D. Peralta / 18 August 2019

KEY TEXTS

ISAIAH 50:10-11

(King James Version)

Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

INTRODUCTION..
Waking Up in the Midst of a Blackout

How many of you here today have experienced suddenly waking up in the middle of the night in a pitch-dark room because of a blackout [or, in our Philippine context/English, ‘brownout’]? In case some of you have an automatic lighting system at home like an (automatic) emergency lamp or a generator that can restore power in an instant, just imagine suddenly waking up from that deep, sound sleep in your bedroom with that thick darkness that seems to engulf (swallow) you, or that dead silence that seems to tell you that you’re slowly drifting to the afterlife, or that hot unmoving air that seems to suck the last sign of life out of you. [Please indulge me today with your response to this question.] So when you wake up in the middle of a blackout, what is the first thing (instinctive response) you usually do?

(A) Who among you immediately scrambles to get out of
bed, gropes in the dark, and then lights up a candle or turns on a flashlight?
(B) Who among you finds yourself too shocked and in deep panic that you are unable to think or move and so (for a brief moment) you freeze as in a paralyzed state?
(C) Who among you (after realizing the situation and feeling a degree of shock) closes your eyes again, keeps them shut for a minute (to adjust to the darkness), and calms your mind to be able to know what to do next?

For some of you this might be trivial, but this waking-up-in-the-middle-of-a-blackout-at-midnight is often a horrible experience for me—almost like a near-death moment. In that moment of sudden wakefulness, my eyes would be wide-open searching for any stray of light, my lungs suffocated sucking very hard every possible molecule of air in the room, my muscles tensed tightening and trembling under my skin, and with my whole body frozen my heart pumping so fast it could just explode any moment. Then, as if catching my last breath to survive, I would scramble my way out of the bed, walking/crawling over [and at times stepping on] my wife, reach for the door to go to our small living room to breathe some air, or at times bang the window open to catch some breeze and look for some illumination from the moon and the stars. On few occasions, however, I would be able to get hold of my senses and tell myself to shut my eyes (calming my nerves) till they adjust to the darkness and allow me to see despite the thick black. [How many of you can relate to this experience?] So you wonder what it’s like if a brownout occurs before we get to sleep? We would pack up some clothes (sometimes with some pillows and blankets), then go to my wife’s house in Timawa or my family’s here in Jaro or sometimes stay in some inn or hotel. And yes, that is one on-the-spot, forced overnight staycation.

Darkness in the Soul
But, [kidding aside], come to think of it, brothers and sisters, how brownout, a natural (physical) darkness, can shake not just our outer (response) but also our inner (physical and psychological) stability…our life. How about that kind of darkness that, often unnoticed, settles in the soul of every child of God even the god-fearing and obedient ones? The Bible speaks of darkness of a spiritual kind that is [if I might say] a natural part of Christian experience and journey towards a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus.

If you could turn your Bible to the book of Isaiah 50:10-11 (from King James Version):

Isaiah 50:10-11
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

In our key text the prophet Isaiah is calling out to the children of Israel particularly to those who have made the decision to be faithful to YHWH—they who ‘fear the LORD’ and ‘obey the voice of his servant’ (prophet). When Isaiah makes this call, I think he doesn’t have in mind the wicked or unrighteous, unbelieving, or sinning people of Israel. Rather, Isaiah is clearly speaking to the true followers of YHWH who exhibit the fear of God and obedience—two essential qualities that identify a genuine child of God. However, the descriptions that come next are rather surprising: Isaiah portrays a picture of a faithful child of God who ‘walks in darkness’ and ‘has no light’. Now [fast track to our present age] that would be a genuine Christian, a child of the Light, but walking in darkness and having no light. [Something is wrong somewhere. It’s just not right. We may think.] The image may rather be ironic and vague, but there’s a lot of truth in the way it depicts the state of many faithful believers today. The prophet Isaiah captures the nature of this spiritual darkness in the soul as ‘walking in darkness’, which is a needful experience in order to grow in our faith, trust, and relationship with Christ and to understand time and again the very essence of our Christian life—a WALK by FAITH and not by SIGHT, full surrender, and complete trust.

Today this darkness in the soul is what I’d like to explore in this message entitled WHEN WALKING IN DARKNESS. With the word of God and my recent walk-in-darkness experience which God had led me to, I’d like us see some insights to the following questions:

What is the soul condition of a Christian walking in darkness?
What should be the right resolve of a Christian walking in darkness? What is God’s warning when walking in darkness?

I know that this walk in the dark in an unpleasant walk to take; many of us Christians don’t recognize it when we are led to this part of the journey so we fail to see its value and get stuck in our walk with God. But, today you and I don’t have to dread walking in the dark paths of our life. We can learn to see the brightest and clearest even in the dark when we look through the eyes of faith and walk forward with complete trust on the name of YHWH.
But, what causes Christians to take this walk? What is the condition of one who walks in darkness?

I. THE CONDITION OF WALKING IN DARKNESS

Isaiah 50:10-11
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh
in darkness, and hath no light?

What is this darkness?
You often feel left in darkness when
(1) You go through great trials in life, and great inward struggles
against temptation accompanied with great outward difficulties.
(2) You encounter trouble with your state of health.
(3) God’s Providence seems to be all against your desire/goal.
(4) All your prospects darken, ways are closed, your sky is covered
with clouds, your undertakings fail.
(5) It seems God’s promises are delayed, unfulfilled, or
misunderstood by you.
(6) Excesses of youth are now demanding their penalty.
(7) You exhibit carnal confidence.
(8) You feel the withdrawal of the light of God’s face on you
(9) You think that God’s divine presence and favor have left you.
(10 You have to walk even though your way is hidden from your eyes.

(For many of us leaders, not being able to see the way does not absolve us from daily duty. We are compelled to walk though we cannot see an inch before us.)

Isaiah seems to suggest that these are times to be expected by the servants of God (as God-permitted darkness). It comes as a test of faith, character, and depth of relationship with and knowledge of God (who God is to you)

What is the state of the soul walking in darkness?
The prophet Isaiah describes this kind of darkness that affects the inner being of believers—their soul. Outward as well as inward troubles can place our soul in crisis.

The Bible records great men of God who experienced walking in darkness and revealed the state or condition of their soul.

A. The Forgotten Soul
David’s cry (recurring question) revealed he was in deep darkness. He was feeling forgotten and forsaken. He was feeling left out and misplaced. He was just left to himself.

Psalm 13:1-3
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

B. The Despondent Soul
Jeremiah struggled with great loneliness, feelings of defeat, and insecurity. Jeremiah suffered from constant rejection by the people he loved and reached out to. God had called him to preach, yet forbidden him to marry and have children. He lived alone, he ministered alone, he was poor, ridiculed, and rejected by his people. In the midst of it, he displayed great spiritual faith and strength, and yet we also see his honesty as he wrestled with despair and a great sense of failure.

Jeremiah 20:14,18
“Cursed be the day I was born…why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?”

Elijah was discouraged, weary, and afraid. After great spiritual victories over the prophets of Baal, this mighty man of God feared and ran for his life, far away from the threats of Jezebel. And there in the desert, he sat down and prayed, defeated and worn.

1 Kings 19:4
“I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.”

C. The Afflicted Soul
Job was in great darkness. He could not comprehend the dealings of God with him, he was in agony, he was struggling with his calamities; he could not find God to know the reason of the sore trials heaped upon him.

Job 3:26
“I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Job 10:1
“I loathe my very life, therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job 30:15-17
“Terrors overwhelm me…my life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest.”

Job judged God by his own perspective—his carnal mind. He saw his own wisdom, his own works, and they blocked his view of God in His greatness.

It takes great determination, discipline in study and in prayer, and meditation to break oneself of that natural, carnal mode of thinking. Even when we succeed, we have to understand that our vision of God still has to be constantly replenished—”day by day,” Paul says (II Corinthians 4:16)—and upgraded, refocused, exercised, as it were, in the truth.

II. YOUR RESOLVE WHEN WALKING IN DARKNESS

Isaiah 51:10
Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

Duty of Trusting in God
The prophet Isaiah provides the ultimate solution to this darkness in the soul—TRUST. Trust is a complete reliance or confidence in God, even if it means, as suggested in the context, keep walking even though you don’t see the way. [This becomes a trouble for us because we are trained see to be able to believe and eventually proceed.] This is the DUTY of trusting in God. As walking with God is a daily effort, so is trusting Him. Trusting God is a conscious intentional effort, an everyday choice, a firm decision. Trusting God is an attitude—a way of life for every believer of Christ.

To trust in the Lord means more than believing in who he is and what he says; the word here for trust can also mean “to have confidence in.” Having confidence in something means having an assurance that leads to action. Trust in the Lord is a faith that lets us boldly serve. This confidence should infuse our whole being—All of our knowledge, wisdom, and will should be saturated in the action-producing assurance of the Lord.

Trusting God is a mind attitude.
You have to train the mind to stay on God—focus on Him alone. At times you need to recall all the goodness of God to you. Remember the miracles, great and small, He has granted you until you get your perspective of God right. You speak the word of God to your mind. You would know you have placed your trust in God if you have God’s PERFECT PEACE despite the chaos (external and internal) in your life. Now that is something nothing in this world can give.

Isaiah 26:3 ESV
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Trusting God is a heart attitude.
You have to check the daily reliance of the heart. Who do you depend on? What or whom do you put your confidence in? Where does your security lie? If you place your heart in daily check to be secured only in God, He will “make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Recently God had to lead me to a dark path to show and teach me a very important lesson on trust. [Like the times of blackout] He made me walk in darkness to show how I would use my eyes to see, what I would do to deal with the darkness, and where my security truly lies. A series of incidents in a span of only three weeks just caused me to lose sight of the breadth, height, and depth of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus.
In my human effort to calm myself and see a perspective, I tried to make sense of what was happening to me, but all I could see was darkness and more questions with no answers, and these led me to spiral downward to a state of resignation to my situation and helplessness, my mind blank, fried, lost—exactly what Isaiah said “having no light”. All my eyes could see was my pitiful state. What came out of my lips was discourses of a soul in darkness:

Why is this happening to me?
When will it ever make sense?
Really?

For days I was downcast until one night God whispered to my inner man the word “security”—Where does your security lie? I knew then that I had leaned on my own understanding, worked with my own strength, and trusted my abilities to accomplish my tasks. I had placed my security (peace) on my scholarship to see me through till I finish my PhD course. God had to make me realize the security of every servant of God is in his Lord and that of every child of God in his Father. As I lay on the bed closing my eyes, I just uttered, “God, keep me under your watchful eye so that this deceitful heart may not stray away from you.”

Trusting God entails that you know His name.
In your daily walk and experience with God, you should know His Name based on His Word and on his PERSONAL REVELATION to you.

Psalm 9:10 ESV
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

The name of God—God’s attributes and Christ’s righteousness—is the revealed character of God. The name of God is able to sufficiently and adequately answer all our wants and doubts, all objections, and distresses. God does not just leave us to walk in darkness alone, He gives us what we truly need in this part of the walk: His name—His REVEALED CHARACTER.

Psalm 148:13
“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.”

During my high school days attending Evangel back in Quezon, one course in the School for Christian Growth (SCG) we had to take was The Names of God. Our SCG teacher would make us memorize the names of God in the Old Testament and, from the middle towards the end of the course, our teacher would ask us to write and share an experience wherein we encountered the goodness of a particular name or character of God. As a young Christian this was how I knew who God is and who He can be in my life.

Jehovah Jireh / The Lord Will Provide (Provider)
Jehovah Rapha / The Lord Will Heal (Healer)
Jehovah Nissi / The Lord My Banner
Jehovah-Raah / The Lord My Shepherd
Jehovah Shammah / The Lord Is There
Jehovah Tsidkenu / The Lord Our Righteousness
Jehovah Mekoddishkem / The Lord Who Sanctifies You
Jehovah Shalom / The Lord is Peace

Today if the darkness in your soul is causing you not to see God for who He declares He is, engage your mind and heart with these truths of the name and character of God. God’s name is His covenant-bond to you, and His name is what you truly need.

Lamentations 3:21-23
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

If you are going to succeed in trusting God, you must actively and constantly call these truths about God to mind. It’s not enough to just know them, like you know that 1 + 1 = 2. You must engage your mind with these truths: His steadfast love, everlasting mercy, and great faithfulness. This is your living hope—the reason why you need to trust God when you walk in darkness.
Stay upon his God
Note the deep meaning of that word “stay.” It encourages you to “lean your whole weight” upon God and to do that continuously.

“Let him stay upon his God.”

It also connotes “leaning upon” God meaning REST. If you have taken God to be your God, He has also taken you to be His own. There is a covenant-bond between you and God: LEAN ON THAT COVENANT.

So even in the dark periods of our walk, you and I still have a covenant-bond with our Father and we can still grow, as though we were planted in the dark, like the plants that grow best in a dim light. We can still glow in the dark. We can still grow deeper roots in the dark, and amongst those Christian character that take deeper root in the dark are—humility, trustfulness, and self-surrender.

III. WARNING WHEN WALKING IN DARKNESS

Isaiah 50:11
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

In hours of darkness great is the temptation to resort to fires of our own kindling — to seek for light elsewhere than from the “Father of Lights;” (James 1:17) and so in the verse following, Isaiah turns to those who are yielding to the temptation and warns them in tones of scornful irony against false lights of their own kindling.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Our true and only source of light is YHWH who is the “Father of lights”. James 1:17 communicates the idea that God is the author of all that is not darkness. Our Father of lights exemplifies everything represented by light—integrity, loyalty, honor, glory, wisdom, the fruit of the Spirit, compassion and love, faithfulness, mercy and grace—all qualities of God and are examples of spiritual “light.” Therefore, in our moments of darkness, we should run to the true source of light—our Father God and tap on the gracious light of His son Jesus Christ.

A Strong Warning
We should be more careful when we are in the period of walking in darkness.
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks

Often times when we don’t recognize that God has led us to walk in darkness as an alternative school of faith, exercise of trust, or test of grace, we easily get impatient and overly creative: We resort to making our own light (surrounding ourselves with sparks) to pave our own way and brighten our path.

kindle our own fire
Suggests that
1. We put great confidence in our own resources.
2. We practice our own abilities to cure our own ills.
3. We use our methods to provide ourselves with satisfactions.

sparks
These sparks speak of ‘artificial glimmers and hopes’ to compensate our weakness. They are temporary fixes than can never really satisfy the real needs of the soul of a child of God—soul that is forgotten, despondent (discouraged, depressed, weary), deserted, afflicted, defeated, etc. Only the true ‘comforts’ of the Father God (YHWH) can bring true light to the soul in darkness.

The Consequence
Those who light up their own fire shall “lie down in sorrow”.

Isaiah 50:11B
This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

“Leaning” is an act of spiritual power, but “lying down” in weariness and dissolution.

The godly “leans” on God; the carnal (ungodly) sinks helpless and “lies down” to die.

The godly finds salvation and comfort; the carnal, sorrow and ruin (in another translation.)

In the final moment, the whole circle of self-deceptions, (own kindled fire and sparks) with which you have encompassed your soul, shall sink and vanish together, like the last glimmer forsakes the expiring wick, and leave only ash behind.

CONCLUSION

Our Lord Jesus Christ was not spared the blackest midnight that ever fell on human mind. Our Lord knows better than we do when inside we bear a soul that feels forgotten, despondent, and afflicted.

If today your Christian journey has led you to a walk in the dark, learn what is the plainest, the shortest, and the only sure way to deliverance from darkness in the soul—It is to fly to the mercy of God through the blood of Christ, to renew the exercises of faith by leaning on His name (God’s revealed character), and to return to His saving grace by putting your confidence (trust) on the finished work of Christ. Let us run to our Father’s throne of grace.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In my episode of walking in darkness, I declare these lines from the song Hosanna over and over again to engage my soul (heart and mind) with God:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

It helped me to press in like never before…until my eyes were accustomed to the darkness and able to see clearly, my soul learned to trust in the name of my God, and my being, leaning on God, was able to take a step on the unseen path…until these eyes were able to see God and glorify Him through the darkness and out to the great light of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Soul, arise!

Submit a Comment