Bible Top 1000

[ Selected ]

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. Matthew 4:16

If you have never gone camping in the wilderness you cannot envision the depth of the darkness in the desert or the forest. In today's world, the level of light pollution is great. There are lights everywhere. From where I live in the country, the sky to the north east is always light because that's where the town is. Even driving down a country road, we see across the valley or over the hill, sparks of light from houses and barns. Real darkness is rare.

In the desert or the forest, however. there is no light except your campfire and the pinpricks of stars above. I lived for a while on the reservation where there was no electricity and came to understand all of the fears that early man must have suffered under. When I opened the door at night there was no artificial light. The span of stars arcing across the heavens made me feel very, very small and insignificant. It was easy to feel that dangerous animals and yes, evil spirits, gods, and demons were lurking in the deep blackness. And I was a rational modern human. How must early humans have felt about the literal darkness? How plain the picture came when the Lord compared their spiritual condition to that darkness!

I have a vision of the people of the world sitting around their tiny sparks of human religion gently feeding twigs and pieces of tinder in to the carefully built and nurtured campfires. They were trying within themselves to foster a relationship with the God of the Universe, but they existed in darkness!

Then blazing out of the night sky came the Star of Bethlehem, symbolic of the great spiritual light that Jesus was to shed abroad! How it lit the night sky! How amazing the amount of light! How awesome compared to the their tiny insignificant campfires!

Christ came saying I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. ( John 12:46) He came lighting the way across the darkness of Sin to bring us into a fellowship with the Father.

He commissioned us. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Mathew 5: 14) to reflect that light after He had gone back to the father. Just as the town illuminates my eastern sky at night. We are to be shining illuminations of the Glory of God.

Our Haven Of Rest

"My people shall dwell in quiet resting places."
(Isaiah 32:18)

Peace and rest don't belong to the unregenerate, they're the peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon Him. When man was "unfallen", his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of "universal wrath" when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that His words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of His word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of His grace, which is a haven of delight. We're more highly favoured than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of His people, and when we draw near to Him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to Him to be the return of peace to our spirits.

"I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
'Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah's name,
'Tis stable as His steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh."

The Amorites

There's a significant insight given us in the words of God to Abraham (Abram, at the time) in Gen. 15:16: "... the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." This statement was made as God told Abram of the future of his descendants. He foretold their 400 years of slavery and subsequent deliverance.

The Amorites were one of the Canaanite peoples. They were descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, and heirs of the curse recorded in Gen. 9:25. God saw the principle of sin at work and foresaw the time when their "iniquity" would be "full," requiring judgment.

By that time, the Israelites had become a great nation, delivered from Egyptian slavery, tried in the desert, and ready to fulfill God's promise to Abram that they would inherit the land. Their victory was also God's judgment on the wickedness of the Canaanites. Only God can arrange such things!

This pattern can be seen throughout history as God has used one nation as an instrument of judgment against another. He even used heathen nations to judge the sins of Israel and then judged them in their turn. See Isaiah 10 (and many other chapters in Isaiah) for example.

The judgments witnessed by Noah and Lot, however are most telling. The recipients of those judgments had no future, no opportunity to repent once destruction was underway and no inclination to repent when forewarned. This is a picture of our day and only God knows how close we are. The world is brazenly planning for "many a tomorrow" that will never come.

God's word concerning the Amorites gives a further insight into our day. The fact that evil flourished among them unchallenged by God was no indication that He was unaware or uninterested. It simply wasn't time. The harvest was not fully ripe. God has allotted to man a space of time and only when that time has expired will He intervene.

He is fully aware of the evil that flourishes in this present hour. Let no one be deceived by His relative silence (II Peter 3:3-7). Though the world is unaware of it, the hour of destruction has been set. God knows exactly when it will be. While we know of the certainty of what is coming (as Noah did) we do not know the day nor the hour (Matt. 24:36).