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“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (John 8:12)
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” How is that consistent with Isaiah 50:10? The “darkness” in Isaiah 50:10 is not the same “darkness” in John 8:12. The darkness of Isaiah 50:10 is the courageous, hard path of obedience to the Lord, while the darkness of John 8:12 is abandonment by God, his face turned away, eternal death.
…setting Isaiah 50:10 and John 8:12 side by side is helpful. It suggests that walking through a dark season in this life, faithful to Christ, has more light to it than walking in the shining brilliance of our own brainstorms. It suggests that the darkness of obedience is better than the light of disobedience. God did not promise that we would never be confused and distraught; he did promise that he would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Even when we can’t see him, he does surround us and guard us and lead us forward. We can expect moments in this pilgrimage when the only way into “the light of life” of John 8:12 is the “walking in darkness” of Isaiah 50:10. And which would we rather have — the “darkness” of faithful obedience leading to our vindication, or the “light” of self-will leading to endless miseries? That is the question of our existence.
-Ray Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners, Preaching the Word, ed. R. Kent Hughes (Wheaton, Il: Crossway Books, 2005), 337-338.
Reposting because I needed to be reminded of these things this morning,
Justin Taylor gives a list of very good and true things to tell yourself when you get up in the morning,
- Salvation draws near. This morning I am one day closer to seeing the Lord face-to-face, and closer to the day when all that is wrong and broken and rebellious will be made right and submissive. (“For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed”—Rom. 13:11).
- God gives me new mercy. Every day I need God’s mercy, and when I awoke today there was a fresh supply of such necessary grace awaiting me. (“[God’s] mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning”—Lam. 3:22-23).
- God gives us all kindness. God has already shown and modeled kindness this morning to his people and to his enemies by causing the sun to rise and shine. (“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good”—Matt. 5:45).
- My to-do list has only two things on it. My to-do list can feel overwhelming, but Jesus was able to summarize all 613 stipulations of the Sinai Covenant unto the size of a Post-It Note: “Love God with all that you are; love your neighbor as yourself.” Love fulfills the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14;James 2:8). As Augustine put it, “Love, and do what you will.”
- Anxiety is meant to be cast not carried. Any anxiety I feel about today is useless (to me) and offensive (to God). God knows that I awake with anxieties, needs, and burdens. But instead of being anxious God wants me to tell him what I need (Phil. 4:6). Because God cares for me he wants me to cast all those anxieties—those burdens—on him (1 Pet. 5:7; Ps. 55:22). God is happy to “supply every need [I have] according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19;Matt. 6:33). Anxiety, at the end of the day, is a pointless waste of time that costs me a lot and gains me nothing (Matt. 6:27).
- Rejoicing in weakness. If I feel too weak today, that’s a very good place to be. That way the joy of the Lord can be my strength (Neh. 8:10). That way I can “serve by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 4:11). “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). God’s grace is sufficient for me, since his power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong ” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).