Sometimes, I wander along the paths laid out by the center column references in my Bible. Often when I do that, I am given another word that is even more comforting or convicting than the verse that started me on my search.
The verse from Isaiah about the eternal Rock (the comforting verse) led me to this, the convicting passage.
If you are walking in darkness,
without a ray of light,
trust in the LORD
and rely on your God.
But watch out, you who live in your own light
and warm yourselves by your own fires.
This is the reward you will receive from me:
You will soon fall down in great torment.
First, instruction for me when I do feel in darkness, when rays of gladness and hope are few and hard to find. There is one hope, one sure thing: the LORD my God. Trust Him. Rely on Him. That’s the answer to darkness.
This reminder from the prophet does not seem to be written to someone who is far from God, who does not know the Lord. It is more of an encouragement for those dark days, when this child of God forgets. I forget the only one who can be Rock; I forget the source of all strength; I forget His faithfulness and love.
No, forget is not the right word. None of us would say we forget God … rather, we fail to focus?
When we imagine that we are walking in darkness (I am beginning to doubt that a child of God ever actually does this, even if we think we can’t see! “Darkness” is a human term, a description only of our poor sight) … When we imagine that we are walking in darkness, how often do we fail to focus on the One who is trustworthy and reliable?
He is the One who gives us light to live by.
The first verse is a reminder. The second verse sounds a harsher warning. In case we did not hear the first statement, now we are told, If you’re trying to live by your own light, failure and torment await.
And, unfortunately, this verse is the one that smacks hard when I read it. To the first reminder I give head assent. Yes, yes, I want to live in the light of God; I want to trust and rely on Him alone; I know that all my strength flows only from Him. Yes. Amen.
But I don’t always live that out. Instead, I try to shine my own light. I build my own fires that I hope will keep me warm. My light is feeble and unreliable, and my fires soon die and I’m shivering yet again.
And yet, I am so “prone to wander,” as the songwriter put it. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, who know me so well, know that I need many reminders, and need to be called back, again and again.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy
can reach me.
(I love that phrase — a rock where no enemy can reach me!)
Father, I want to live in your light alone. Trust in you alone. Find my life in you alone. Lead me there, Jesus. Keep me there, Spirit.
Scripture: Isaiah 50:10-11, Psalm 62:5-7 (emphasis added) (both NLT)