Afraid of the Dark

25 06 2009


Isaiah 50:10-11 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant?  If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. 11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires.  This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.


This is the first time I’ve either read, or noticed, the juxtaposition of the fear of God with darkness.  In our culture, the fear of darkness is a socially acceptable phobia.  We acquire it when we are toddlers and some never lose it.  Infants have no fear of darkness, but somewhere around the age of two or three, children begin to fear darkness.

Unfortunately, very few children are taught to fear the Lord.  We do however teach children to be self-sufficient (e.g. the create their own light and warm themselves with their own fires.


For several months now, I’ve been trying to create my own heat and light, but without success.  The message I was preaching, the leadership I was offering, and the vision I was casting were from my walk with God.  Sure, I made my share of mistakes, and I’ve sought to make amends for those, but that doesn’t denigrate the path I was blazing.  I’ve never seen myself called to be a manager of the status quo.  I’ve known from the beginning that I was called to push forward and do damage against the kingdom of darkness.

However, when I started to get some push-back, I recanted.  In order to protect my family, in order to protect our source of economic income, I pulled back and quit pushing.  I apologized, I expressed remorse, I sulked, I became depressed and despondent, and I tried hard to stop the inevitable loss of my employment.  In retrospect, I see that I was only trying to kindle my own fire and create heat and light for me and my family.

Reading the above text, the contrast was vivid.  I had to ask myself, why do I fear the darkness more than I fear God?  Why do I fear a loss of income, more than I fear God?  Why do I fear men, more than I fear God?  Why do I fear church leadership, more than I fear God?  Why do I fear mortgage creditors, tax returns, and car repairs more than I fear God?

Just asking those questions, makes me laugh.  Not a violent, mad-scientist laugh, but a chuckle – at my self.  And of course, it begs the question, what does it mean to “fear God?”

Fearing God is about respect.  We fear the darkness because we have a certain respect for the darkness.  While there may or may not be evil lurking in the darkness, we do know that we are limited in the sense that we can’t predict the future by taking in information by sight.  We have to rely on our sense of hearing – and very few of us could adequately identify the sound of a cougar ready to pounce from a tree.  Very few of us could identify the smell of a snake coiled in the brush.  And how many of us could identify the feel of a taste of a spider that accidentally crawled into our mouth?

We have learned to identify these dangers by sight.  Likewise, we have learned to determine our financial security and foundation by thinking logically.  We know that if we have $X in the bank and our income is greater than our expenses, we will be OK.  We know that we need to put so many dollars away each month for retirement.  And we know that as we pay our bills, we will be able to keep our house, cars, and our children fed.  We know this by logic.

However, God’s power, God’s direction, and even God’s presence defy logic, our senses, and our perceptions.  He is able to do above and beyond what we could ever imagine.  Our respect for Him, if we really knew Him, would surpass our respect for money, safety, darkness, security, financial planning, employment, etc.

If we really knew God, as Enoch knew Him.  If we knew God like Moses knew Him.  If we knew God like Elijah knew God – we would never fear the temporal issues of today’s world.

What is really interesting, ironic even, about the story I read earlier in 1 Samuel 4, is how Israel was defeated by the Philistines.  After one rousing battle, they called up the Ark and went to battle with the Ark of the Lord.  They were using it like a superstitious amulet.  God didn’t ask them to do this, instead they were kindling their own fire.

As the battle raged, Eli trembled in fear.  What was he afraid of?  He was afraid for the Ark.  But if that was God’s Ark, and God dwelt there, he shouldn’t have feared.  After the defeat, Eli died.  Eli didn’t really know God.

My fear and respect have to be in God – not myself, or man-made institutions!


Father God.  It’s really all about you, isn’t it.  Not me, but you.  Continue to teach me how to fear and respect you.  Continue to teach me how to not fear the financial insecurity and darkness that lies ahead.

Thanks – I love you too!




One response

25 06 2009

nice post. I had a similar experience where I was doing everything I could to prove myself to a “boss” figure so i could work in Clark County. In the end, I said – forget it, if they don’t like me for who I am, then I’m not going to fake it to save it. I learned a very valuable lesson – to thine own self be true…. Nice


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