Wednesday in the First Week of Lent

Exodus 10:21-11:10

A Darkness That Can Be Felt

Our Scripture readings skip most of the plagues that God sent upon Egypt for Pharaoh’s bullheadedness.  Some plagues, he cared nothing about; others, he would run to Moses repenting and promising to let the Israelites go, only to change his mind when the plague was removed.  His heart was hardened, and a person with a hardened heart rarely behaves in a rational manner.

The ninth plague does bear some comment.  Of all of them, it is the most eerie, even sinister.  The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt” (italics added).  Darkness is one thing; but to feel the darkness, that is something else.  Scripture records that no one could see anyone else, and no one rose from his place for three days.  It isn’t hard to imagine the fear that would grip a person: What’s around me? What is next to me? What is across the room? No one can help because no one else can see either.  It’s more than loneliness; it’s alone-ness.

It seems to me that this is exactly the predicament of a man apart from Christ.  It matters not how many people he may crowd around himself.  Within is darkness, a darkness that can be felt.  He fills it with activity, amusement, or pleasure.  Perhaps he is a loner who fills his time with books or the Internet.  But within is a black hole.  Saint Augustine said it best: “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (Confessions I.1).  As we are created in God’s image, to God do our souls cry out.  We must worship something or someone.  Man without God will always choose something or someone other than God.  His soul cries out of the darkness; he fills it with more darkness.

As the darkness lasted three days, my mind naturally turns to the One who descended into hades during the three days of his death.  Only he went there not to feel the darkness, but to conquer it and to redeem its captives.  I’m sure the Light of the world shed his light all around that dismal place.  Satan and his minions shrank back into the darkness, but there was no escape.  On that side of eternity, for the wicked, be they angels or human beings, there is no redemption.  But on this side, a man may still call out to Christ, and experience a light that can be felt.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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