Sunday, June 22, 2008

Genesis 15 - The darkest light

This chapter has a few really interesting moments in it. The first is that Abram talks back to God. They actually dialog, with Abram expressing honest doubt. It's not that God says something and Abram instantly replies, "You got it. I'm super happy thanks! Rainbows and ponies!"

Not at all, he actually discusses his future with God and details what he fears about the days ahead. This kind of changes the game. This changes how we can interact with God. This makes faith a two way street. A conversation, not a hand off of rules and ideas.

The second thing is that God uses His creation to teach Abram. He asks him to look at the stars as a way to show Abram how abundant his life would be. I like that, because it justifies us doing the same thing. I might think it's cheesy that some churches insist on singing every worship song over a waterfall or a sunset. But God Himself used nature to prove a point so I think it's completely OK to see Him in the world around us.

But that's not what I want to talk about. I want to discuss how God spoke to Abram in the end of the chapter. After what appeared to have been some fairly casual conversations (if such a thing is possible with God) Abram is instructed to prepare a sacrifice. Then verse 12 and 13 say, "As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him …"

Did you ever notice how God appeared? I've written about it before. It was in the midst of a thick and dreadful darkness. The stage for their discussion was not the angelic yellow glow that most movies or stories associate with God. No chubby angels played harps. No sunlight blinded Abram. Instead, a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

What's terrifying about that is that I think God still works that way sometimes. I might like to believe that when I find myself surrounded by what feels like eternal night and get lost in a dark patch of life, God is not speaking then. But this verse suggests otherwise. I might think I am alone in the pit. That the night is something I have to get through before God will speak. But in this chapter, thick, dreadful darkness was His medium. It was His vehicle to share His message.

You might be in dark times right now. You might be in dreadful times next month. I hope that even in the midst of the long night, you will pause and ask, if like Abram, this is God's way of speaking purpose into your life.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jon, for encouraging me in my dark pit. I need to seek and listen to Him who loves me and will bring me through.

Donna said...



Augustino said...

Being a neophyte at this site, first I read Code Adam Code Jon and subsequently landed here.

Back in the panic of Wal-Mart, with all the frantic rushing toward the doors, I'm the lost boy whose escalating screams go unheard. Pleading, punching, panting for breath; until all is smothered under crushing darkness.

Then you got me in the end, or rather God had me from the beginning, with the reminder God sent His Son to die for me. Okay, so maybe my adrenaline subsides enough to concede that Code Adam was working for me all the while. Next, I learn God is speaking to me through the darkness.

Thanks Jon, for being like a Wal-Mart employee who dedicatedly played his role in a Code Adam for me. Should darkness bury me once more, I will be a bit braver and will ask God if He is again speaking purpose into my life. I'm grateful for this guidance toward the Light.

Catie Pearl said...

I've been there, He has spoken to me in the thick darkness many times. It is amazing and wonderfully refreshing. Thank you for this mini devotional, it's very encouraging!

Trina said...

That is basically my testimony. I dug myself a pit by making bad life decisions and when I finally hit bottom, God was there like he had always been, but he used my dark pit to speak to me.

I used to have panic attacks and that heavy blanket of fear and dread would always come when it was night. I would stay awake for fear of going to sleep and never waking up. But what if God was using that to speak to me but I was too afraid to realize it?

PAUL said...

Jon, have you ever attended seminary or had any training because you have an amazing insight to the Bible? Thanks for this post.

Flesheater said...

I've always loved the way Abram/Abraham just talked to G-d so casually.

But I most have somehow skipped over how G-d came to him that time.

I've never noticed that dreadful darkness part.
Just goes to show that we need to be listening to G-d no matter our situation. Bright lights and fluffy clouds or dreadful darkness and bottomless pits.