Every light seems bright when it is shining in a dark place. In the full blaze of the noonday sun, the feeble shining of a candle might not appear very significant, but when the sun goes down and darkness steals across the land, or if the candle is put in a dark place, suddenly that feeble light takes on an importance and brightness it wouldn't have had otherwise. That slight, small light dispels the darkness, holds it at a distance and gives comfort and guidance to those who are near it. Spiritual and moral darkness increases more than usual at times, and it is in such times that men and women display a spiritual light for God and His truth that is the more remarkable because of the darkness of the hour.
Need For Lights
In any day, there has always been a need for those who are exercised to "shine for God". It was when the days were darkest that God moved to raise up some man or woman who would uphold the lamp of testimony for God so that His truth might be preserved, His purposes promoted and His people encouraged. At times, one might almost have thought that God had no interest in His people, or that there was no hope for recovery or continuance of Divine truth in the earth. When there were such times, a light flickered in the dark that showed the power of God to move and to maintain truth despite the opposition of every foe.
We think of some applicable passages of God's Word regarding this truth. Our minds go to Proverbs 4:18, "The path of the just is as a shining light". Notice that it is the just, the righteous, the one with a sincere desire to please God that is as a shining light". This is not only a positional righteousness, but the practical expression of righteousness in the life. May there be this kind of light shining in each of us!
Then we read in John 5:35 that John Baptist was a "burning and a shining light". Think of the kind of life this godly and faithful man displayed in his testimony for God before a dark world. It would take a faithful man to come out of the wilderness and preach a message demanding repentance and decrying the evil of the religious leaders. Is it any wonder the Lord Jesus spoke so approvingly of him, even saying that there had "not risen a prophet greater than John" (Luke 7:28)? Do we display this kind of faithfulness?
We hear the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 5:14:
"Ye are the light of the world," but we would
have to ask if the darkness of the night is overwhelming
the light that should be shining brightly for Christ? Is
it possible that we can let our light be covered by the
bushel of the business (or "busy-ness") of life
and its affairs so that they keep the light from shining
as it should? We read in another sense that there was the
kind of soil that
A candle can be put under a bed (Mark 4:21), a strange place for a candle, but no stranger than the places where our light is often hidden. The bed might make us think of the hiding of our light under indifference and laziness and the desires of the flesh. Is it possible that our light is out of sight through selfish indulgence?
Again, Paul teaches us that we are to "shine as lights in the world" (Phil 2:15). Notice the conditions that accompany that command: to be blameless and harmless (sincere), without rebuke in the midst of a generation that is exactly the opposite. Perhaps we have lost our shining ability in that we have become like the world, accommodating our lives to its desires and patterns of living, compromising with its standards and generally losing our light-bearing capacity!
Examples From Scripture
In future articles, as the Lord will, we desire to consider some who shone in their lives for God even though the days were very dark. They didn't say, as some do, that it was too hard to live for God. The day in which they lived wasn't any better than ours, and we should never think that they had it easy! It was as hard to go against the stream of man's opinions and desires then as now. They lived in a world that was marked by selfish indifference, to the extent of opposition to God and His truth. They had to speak when their message wasn't wanted, and even when God told them that it wouldn't be believed. We cannot make excuses if we don't seek to maintain a clear, shining testimony in our day. Think of what they did!
We should be glad that Noah didn't complain and consider the work too great when God told him to build an ark. Think of the results! We are thankful that Samuel didn't hide in some corner when God told him to speak the word to Eli and testify against his evil sons who were corrupting the house of God. We need faithful men today who can see the danger and departure creeping into assemblies and who are willing to speak up with exercise and godly fear. We rejoice to think of Daniel or Joseph as young men far from home and environment who didn't entertain the idea of compromise with an evil world.
Are we today willing and exercised to do the same, no matter what the cost might be? May God give us more Daniel's, Joseph's, Elijah's, Micaiah's, Deborah's, Naboth's and others of the same character who can and will stand for the truth of God and testimony in our own day!