Light and Darkness

Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night” (v. 20b).

- Exodus 14:15–20

The opening pages of Scripture begin with the theme of separation, a theme that is carried throughout the revealed Word of God until the record of God’s final judgment of mankind. In Genesis, we read that God separated the light from the darkness by the power of His word. We read in the passage before us that the Angel of the Lord moved from guiding the Israelites through the wilderness to guarding them from behind against the advances of the Egyptian army. Here we see God not only as the one who leads His people faithfully through the wilderness, but as the one who protects them from their enemies. He stands between them and those who seek to undo them. And this is how it is with Christ: He stands as our Advocate. He is the one who guards us and protects us from the accusations and fiery attacks of Satan. We need not fear the enemy; we need only go forward, trusting in the Lord of light to guard us from our enemies.

Once the Angel of the Lord, or the cloud, as it was described, moved between the Israelites and their Egyptian foes, the cloud continued to be a source of light for the Israelites. For the Egyptians, however, it was a mass of darkness. God had purposed to judge Egypt by showing it no mercy. He “hardened” Pharoah’s heart by removing the restraint of common grace from him. In doing this, Egypt was cast into utter darkness.

It could not see the light of the Lord, nor could it discern God’s glory as the Israelites did. All was darkness to the Egyptians.

We should not be surprised that glory, which is manifest in nature and in God’s revealed Word, is hidden from the unbeliever. The lost do not see with the eye of faith; therefore, they perceive only darkness. Even as the glory of the Lord stands manifest before them, they see only darkness. Matthew Henry call this an “endless distinction which will be made between the inheritance of the saints in light and that utter darkness which forever will be the portion of hypocrites.” Though we see the enemy advancing and the church of Christ seeming to weaken, God will preserve His people. The light will not go out, and the darkness that wraps about the minds and hearts of unbelievers will only deepen. God himself will be our light—the assurance that He is with us even in the most impossible circumstance.

Coram Deo

Read the passage below from John. What does it mean to walk in the light? Describe what it means to walk in darkness. What are some “deeds of darkness”? What are deeds of the light? Read Ephesians 5:8–14. How does Paul describe walking in the light? Meditate on these Scriptures as you consider how you can be a child of light.

Passages for Further Study

Genesis 1:4
Isaiah 45:7
John 12:27–50

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