Light in The Darkness

LIGHT IS SOWN FOR THE RIGHTEOUS

PSALM 97

5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
7 All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!
8 Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
9 For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous
and joy for the upright of heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Light is sown for the righteous! It is carried outside and buried in the ground. While for a time it is invisible, it is in fact germinating and swelling in the womb of the earth. Shortly the day of harvest dawns and overwhelms him with a wealth of light and brilliance.
Admit it! As an image this picture is choice and unbelievably beautiful.

The person who chose for God and in doing so broke with the world in his heart and with all that glitters here on earth sees that everything around him is gradually becoming darker. One light goes out in front of him, another behind him. Candelabras with their ungodly glow once burned wherever he partied, but now he has blown out their candles. Other little lights that could have kept on burning the world begrudged him. It blew them out just to torment him. Then there were also many other lights that the Angel of Light extinguished so that his soul might be purified. And now, step by step, he walks the path of his pilgrimage in almost total darkness. He becomes as exuberant as a child when now and then by God’s mercy a lovely ray of light still falls across that path.

Pay close attention! We’re not playing word games here or exaggerating. We can still talk about light, luster, and sparkle. The otherwise quiet joy and family happiness is still known to a fairly large extent by God’s children. Who doesn’t experience this and give praise and thanks to God for it? But what they lack and are compelled to do without is the worldly limelight, the glow of recognition, and the glitter of earthly glory. They aren’t permitted to have it here on earth or it would cost them their faith and the soundness of their spiritual lives.

Yet such light is a big part of life today. We long for it. We’ve been promised that we can have it and not be limited to just a little subdued joy and sedate happiness. Our hearts are drawn to raucous shouts of laughter, the glamor of victory, and the glory of crowning recognition. But here on earth, we have to leave all that to those who are opposed to God. Those who kneel at the foot of the cross are not permitted to enjoy these things in their worldly, ungodly forms.

Daily experience makes this clear to you in repeatedly new ways. In our world here below, in the great drama of human life, slaves to their own egos bask in the light of recognition, just as Mammon in general and Satan do. Meanwhile, God’s saints and devout children are pushed into the drab background, where they are lost in a haze of darkness and obscurity.

The Holy Spirit knows all this. As the searcher of our human hearts, he also knows what this costs us, how this saddens us, and how this frequently threatens our faith. Remember, that’s why he comes to us now as the Comforter and reassures us in this amazing song of suffering. He whispers in our souls: “The light of glory seems to have disappeared for you. But it isn’t gone. It has simply been sown, that is, it is hidden in the womb of the earth so that when the world’s day has run its course and your day has come, you will overflow in abundance—thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.”

So does the sower grieve when his barn is empty and his pouch drained because he carried his seed to the field and scattered it across the plowed ground? No, just the opposite! Now he finally feels completely satisfied. The seed is gone from the storehouse, and the field now shelters all of it beneath its cover. He knows that his seed grain is at work for him. He knows that God is causing it to flourish. He knows that by being hidden away, his precious seed promises to yield him a far richer harvest of wheat.

Should you be sad then, O my soul, because when Christ entered your life his angels followed him to carry out of your house the light of great honor and glory? That they dressed you in the clothing of obscurity? That people forgot about you and the world laughed at you? That the sons of Belial dragged you through the mud? That you were deprived of esteem in the eyes of men?

Understand that your light is a better light, a far more brilliant light. It definitely is and it always will be. It exists, although you may not see it during the long days and years given you. It doesn’t shine far and wide, but it’s hidden there, right at your feet, just in front of you, beneath the surface of your daily living. It’s sheltered there for a purpose. It isn’t inactive. But it’s being protected by your God. There its luster is being steadily increased by his majesty, multiplied instead of diminished. It’s gaining purity, clarity, power, and luster until it will eventually burst out. Then it will engulf you and wash over you like a flowing stream, O righteous person. It will flood over you and many others who are righteous along with you. It will make you shine with the splendor of your Lord, like a star in the firmament!

The psalmist sings that life for the ungodly is like a dense black thundercloud. Lightning flashes from it and lights up everything, but with a brilliance that consumes, destroys, and discredits (vv. 1–7).

But for you who follow in the footsteps of the Man of Sorrows where you live, love, and struggle, life may also be dark, to be sure. But that darkness is like that of the gray field holding the kernels of seed in its womb. They are sheltered there from the light while you ripen and swell until the time when everything that surrounds you is light, splendor, and glory (vv. 7–11). So “rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and praise him in honoring his holiness!” (v. 12).

The one who said “I am the Light of the world” needs to be heard in terms of this light when he expresses the sobering prophecy: “If it is not sown into the ground and dies, it will always remain just one seed; but if it dies, it will produce fruit a hundredfold.”
And he’s that One whom we keep on following!

Abraham Kuyper, Ever in Thy Sight: 31 Devotions on the Psalms

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