The Light Wins (Friends of Union – May 2024 Devotional)

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  • The Light Wins (Friends of Union – May 2024 Devotional) 00:00

Devotional by Michael Reeves

 

Edited transcript

Dear  friends,

Thank  you  so  much  for  standing  with  us.  I  am  so  grateful  for  you,  and  I  want  you  to  know  I  just  love  praying  for  you.

You  know,  this  morning  I  was  reading  the  book  of  Habakkuk,  and  the  sun  was  just  coming  up.  And  the  first  light  of  the  sun  came  over  the  horizon  and  in  through  my  windows  just  as  I’d  reached  Habakkuk  2:14: “For the  earth  will  be  filled  with  the  knowledge  of  the  glory  of  the  Lord  as  the  waters  cover  the  sea.”

It  was  so  striking  because, of  course,  dawn  is  a  moment  filled  with  biblical  symbolism,  the  kind  of  symbolism  that  Habakkuk  is  actually  using  there. At  dawn, the  light  begins  to  drive  away  the  darkness,  and  in  it  we  see  a  picture  of  the  grand  story  of  the  Bible.

For right back at the beginning of all things, in Genesis 1, God speaks his word, and light erupts into the darkness. And the apostle John famously comments on this, telling us that this word that brings light is no ordinary word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). It is this word—Jesus Christ, the Word of God—that brings light.

Now, John writes, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5).

No, darkness cannot overcome light, for darkness is simply a lack of light.

Now, darkness can be cold and scary, but it has no power to withstand light. You shine a light, and darkness will flee before it. In fact, the whole universe leans towards light. On day four of creation, God made lights to shine in the darkness of the night and rule over the night: he made the sun, the moon, the stars. But he made no darknesses to rule over the day.

So, you see, in God’s world, darkness is always on the back foot, in retreat. For light speaks of the glory of God. That is what he is like: radiant, warming, life-giving. In him there is no darkness at all. Before him, darkness flees.

Light defeating darkness: that is the message of the very first day of creation. And every new day we enjoy proclaims that message afresh. As the sun rises, we see it afresh: light beats darkness.

And that’s why, throughout Genesis 1, as the work of each day of creation is explained, each day finishes with the words “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day…,” “and there was evening and there was morning, the second day…,” and so on. Now, it doesn’t say “and there was morning and there was evening.” No, darkness comes first. And every time, “there was evening” and then “there was morning.”

And so every day of this world is a promise from God that one day, as we read in the last chapter of the Bible, “Night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

“Night will be no more,” for, as Habakkuk wrote, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” The light of God’s glory will, in the end, drive out all darkness. It will fill creation so that there is simply no room left for night—which is why, on that day, there will be no more mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the Light of the world will have triumphed entirely.

Friends, we need this daily promise of victory, because otherwise, we’ll despair. The world now seems so dark, so filled with tragedy and evil. You know, the people of God, we were made, like Abraham, like Israel, to be a light to the nations, shining the light of the world to the ends of the earth. But so often we feel outnumbered, shining only feebly. It can feel as if darkness is here to stay or might win in the end. Which is why, every day, God renews his promise: the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. Night will be no more. And the earth will be filled with the radiance of the glory of the Lord.

You think: the church of Jesus Christ started with a very small group in a backwater part of the world. And it grew to topple empires, to overthrow gods, to transform nations. It spread from Jerusalem to Seoul and San Francisco. And when the church has been bright with faithfulness, it has often grown fast.

You know, in fact, with your help, friends, Union has just celebrated the establishment of 200 new churches spread across 25 countries. To God be the glory!

Now, of course, Jesus has not returned. There’s still so much darkness left in the world, and so we don’t stop—which is why, this year, Union opened 12 new church growth hubs: Cairo, Egypt; Abuja, Nigeria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Los Angeles; Houston, Texas; Poznan, Poland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Lucknow, North India, and elsewhere—because we are hungry to see the glory of Christ shine in every nation and every tribe.

Across the continents, we are seeing it: God is keeping his promise, and the church is growing. The light is spreading.

It’s not always easy, for where the gospel advances, the devil will rage. The shepherds of the church will be attacked. The faithful will be tempted in every way not to endure, not to give their all for this cause.

But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. It is being filled ever more even now. So I say, let’s not act as if the Lord is not on his throne, for God has promised, and every day he renews his promise. One day “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5). This is what the Lord Jesus Christ died to achieve. In his blood, he made this bright future certain.

So, let us work and pray and live toward this hope, for we know his promises are sure. And one day people from every tongue and tribe will bask together in the light of God’s glory (see Rev. 7:9).

Shall we pray together? Let’s pray.

Glorious Father, from the beginning of time, you have promised that your light will drive out the darkness. Oh, drive out the darkness in our lives. Drive out our doubt and selfishness. And take and use us now to work together to see the light of Christ shine so that all the world is filled with it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

May the Lord continue to bless you richly, dear friends.

 

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Union Publishing

Picture of Union Publishing

Union Publishing