by Victor Knowles
Out of the starless, dreary gloom, God spoke: "Let there be light." And there was light. And the light was good. Light was a gift to the universe, given swiftly and silently. Light is free to all, useful to all, welcomed by all.
Out of the formless, empty darkness, God spoke. "Let there be light." This was the divine Director's order of the day, the Maker's mandate, the Creator's word of command. And just like that, there was light-radiant, brilliant, "the prime work of God" (Milton), "God's first creature" (Bacon). This was the Pronouncement.
"Let there be light." The first words spoken by the Almighty, the Ancient of Days. Literally, "light be." Instantly, light was. When God speaks, things happen. Whenever God's voice is heard, darkness-that dark and desolate "suit of night" (Shakespeare)-turns to dawn.
"Light" just may be the key word of the Bible. From Genesis 1:3 to Revelation 22:5, the word "light" streams like a shining shaft about 270 times. Light is the very essence and nature of God. "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). God is called "the Father of lights" (James 1:17). He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16).
Trace the history of light in the Old Testament and you will always find God. The ninth plague that fell upon ancient Egypt was darkness-a darkness so pervasive that it could actually be felt (Ex. 10:21). Yet, miraculously, all the Israelites had glowing light in their homes (v. 23). That can only be explained by the abiding presence of God. During the massive exodus from Egypt, God was their "night light." He went before them in a "pillar of fire" to give them light at night (Ex. 13:21). The Tabernacle in the wilderness was illuminated by the light from the golden lampstand. Aaron and his sons were to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning (Ex. 25:31; 27:21). When Moses came down the second time from Mt. Sinai, his face was "radiant" because he had spoken with Almighty God (Ex. 34:29). The Word of God is likened unto a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Ps. 119:105). The prophets promised that Messiah would shine like a great light upon Israel (Isa. 9:2).
The star of Bethlehem brought joy to the Magi because it led them to Jesus, "the light of the world." And "in him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Those who accept the Christ have light; those who reject the Christ are in spiritual darkness. Saul of Tarsus was temporarily blinded by the light-a brilliant, blazing light that was brighter than the noonday sun. He immediately cried, "Who are you, Lord?" (Acts 9:5). When men are confronted by the living Christ, they are facing the very "light of men," "the light of the world," the luminous Lord of the universe.
But hell is described in Scripture as a place of "outer darkness" (Matt. 25:30). Jude speaks of "the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13). That's because God will not be there. Hell is a bottomless, restless, godless place for those who have chosen to live without God. In stark contrast, heaven is a place of glorious light. There will be no need of the sun or the moon, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb of God will be its lamp (Rev. 21:23). There will be no night there (Rev. 21:25; 22:5).
I believe we still need to hear and heed the Pronouncement: "Let there be light!" Let there be light in our hearts, light that emanates from the indwelling Christ, the light of men. "Let every heart prepare Him room."
Let there be light in our homes-light that is so mysterious and magnificent that our homes will be filled with light, even though entire blocks or cities are covered with darkness. This can only happen when Christ is the welcome, invited, permanent guest in our homes.
Let there be light in our congregations. May the Word of God have supreme precedence when we assemble. Why? Because the entrance ("unfolding" in the NIV) of God's Word gives light (Ps. 119:130). Singing gives thanks for the light but Scripture brings the light. The open Bible is our source of light but when the Bible remains closed, or is referenced sparingly, or is exegeted carelessly, darkness will inevitably set in. Clear and constant communication of God's Word is an imperative for increasing illumination.
Let there be light in our lives. The first children's song I remember singing in Sunday school was "A Sunbeam for Jesus." That's still my life's ambition. I'm amazed that the One who said "I am the light of the world" also said, "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). What a high honor! What an awesome responsibility! Christians are to walk in the light as Christ is in the light (1 John 1:7). When we walk and talk like Christ, men will see our good deeds and glorify our Father-the Father of lights-the One who made the pronouncement on the day the world was born: "Let there be light"!
From "Viewpoint" in the January, 2007; Knowlesletter.
Victor Knowles is executive director of Peace on Earth Ministries (POEM), Joplin, Missouri.
The Knowlesletter is a monthly publication of this ministry.