Light in Darkness!
William Nicholson, 1862
"Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Isaiah 50:10
The mission of Christ is here foretold by the prophet.
His character as the Great Teacher,
his obedience as the servant of the Lord,
his sufferings as the Mediator for man, and
the acceptance of his sacrifice, are here predicted.
Here, in the work of Christ, we see light and salvation — joy and support, for the perishing sinner, and the trembling saint.
I. The Character Described.
1. Those who fear God: "Fears the Lord."
(1.) Once they did not fear him. It is not natural to man to fear God; that is, to love and reverence him. Man as a sinner hates him — his guilty conscience dreads him. He trembles at death when he expects to meet him.
(2.) They now fear him. They love him — desire to please him, and fear to offend him — they do his will and seek his glory.
All this indicates a great change, of which they are conscious, and of which they give evidence to the world.
A change from guilt and misery — to the enjoyment of all spiritual blessings.
A change from alienation from God — to reconciliation with him, through Christ. Ephesians 2:1-6.
A change from hatred to God — to the sincere love of him.
A change from worldly companionship — to Christian fellowship. "I am a companion of all those who fear him."
2. They are obedient to Christ. "That obeys the voice of his servant."
Christ is a servant. Isaiah 42:1; 53:11; Philippians 2:7. He was delegated to be so for man's salvation, and having succeeded, God highly exalted him. He is now King over the Church — its lawgiver, etc. And all true believers obey him. They obey him at conversion . . .
by repenting and believing,
by the profession of his name,
by union with his people,
by fighting his battles,
by working in his vineyard.
They obey from the heart,
they obey his will, his precepts,
they obey constantly, cheerfully, and perseveringly.
They obey him in preference to man — as the only legislator. "Call no man master." Matthew 23:8-10.
II. Their State. "They walk in darkness, and has no light."
It is so with the people of God now. Christian experience has been the same in every age.
The time of spiritual conviction reveals to the sinner the darkness of sin — that his course has been evil, loving "darkness rather than light" that sin "exposes to the blackness of darkness forever." He is in darkness about the salvation of his soul, until Christ the great Prophet reveals it to him. Ephesians 5:8, 11.
It may signify the darkness of doubt. Some think their unworthiness so great as to doubt of the Divine acceptance. Some doubt the willingness of God to save them. Some doubt the existence of grace in their hearts. Some fear that they will utterly fail of the grace of God, and be castaways at last.
A time of backsliding is a dark and awful state. It involves the loss of character — of comfort — of usefulness — of hope. The returning backslider can best describe the darkness of his state. Blessed consolation! A backslider may be saved. Proverbs 14:14.
Darkness represents a state of trouble. Isaiah 8:22. The darkness of affliction — of poverty — secular losses, and bereavements.
Darkness expresses perplexity or bewilderment. Divine Providence is often mysterious. "Clouds and darkness." So Jacob was perplexed.
Approach to death is a season of darkness, which requires Divine light, Job 10:21, 22.
III. The Advice Given."Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God."
1. The name of the Lord is very expressive.
It implies all the attributes of the Deity.
It implies that all these are engaged to promote man's salvation and happiness.
It implies that these all center in Christ, that they are all exercised in man's redemption. "My name shall be in him," Exodus 23:21; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthew 1:23.
2. To trust in the name of the Lord, implies,
A knowledge of his character; "they that know your name, will put their trust in you."
It implies faith, confidence, repose, a committal to his hands, Ephesians 1:12, 13.
Dependence upon him alone. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God!" Psalm 20:7
It implies prayerful application to God for relief in our respective states.
Convinced sinner, trust in the name of the Lord; there is salvation in that name; the Savior's name, Christ Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Trust, and he will save you. Though your sins be numerous like the sands of the sea, and black like midnight, or as Hell itself — trust in God through Christ, and all shall be forgiven.
You doubting ones, trust in the name of the Lord. The gracious import of that name is sufficient to banish all doubt. His grace will cover and forgive all your defects. Exodus 34:6. Why should you doubt when God takes pleasure in you? Psalm 35:27. Your doubts intimate anxiety to be right; they indicate some vitality existing within you. Trust him, "he will perfect that which concerns you; he will not forsake the work of his hands." Psalm 138:8. Trust him, he will finish the work he has begun. Philippians 1:6.
Trust, you backsliders, in the name of the Lord, for he says, "Return unto me." "Why will you die?" "I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them!" Hosea 14:4
You afflicted and perplexed, with various ills, trust in the name of the Lord. There is . . .
enough power in that name to deliver you,
enough wisdom to guide you,
enough love to save you —
to save to the very uttermost!
Mysterious and complex may be his procedure, but he does all things well; he is guiding you in a right path that leads to the city of habitation.
Do you fear death? He can irradiate that dark valley, and make you happy and triumphant there. Psalm 23:4.
Stay yourselves upon your God. Have fixedness of heart or trust in him. See Isaiah 26:2, 3. This will be sure anchoring for you amid the dark storms of life. "He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me!" Psalm 18:17-19
Rejoice, the Lord is your God, and will be all to you that you need:
light in the darkness of ignorance;
light in the darkness of perplexity;
light in the darkness of doubt;
light in the darkness of trouble;
and light in the darkness of death!
"Unto the upright, there arises light in the darkness." Psalm 112:10