In Jesus’ time candles were only beginning to be used by the Chinese and a few other nations. In Palestine in Jesus’ time a lamp was a shallow bowl with a pinched lip to hold the wick. Jews did not like darkness and even cursed people by saying something like, “May your lamp go out in darkness.” When a person was born blind or became blind in life Jews immediately thought the person or his parents were under the judgment of God for some grave sin.
The poorest homes in Jesus’ time considered the luxury of oil to burn in the lamp through the night to be a necessity. It was a sign of the most severe poverty to be without oil to light the night.
Even in our own day when people speak of a movie being dark they mean that the story line is evil or sinister somehow. When we think of dark gothic things like makeup, clothing or poetry, the idea conveyed is of blood, dying, sorrow, pain etc. So darkness is historically associated with evil and the unhappy life.
When the Psalmist speaks to the Lord about Him lighting his lamp it is an expression of supreme happiness, joy, and contentment. He could then see by the light of his God to walk through the maze of life. It was a sign that his guide was nothing less than the God who created him. How much more could a pilgrim ask than to have such a sure and safe Companion in the dark world of sin?
Also in the Old Testament God Himself is called the light of His people. Twice in Isaiah 60:19-20 Jehovah says He will be the light of His people. Then in John 1:4, 5, 7, 8, 9, we read that Jesus is the Light. In Psalm 27:1 the Psalmist says that Jehovah is his Light and his salvation. Jesus insists that He has come as a Light into the world so that those who believe on Him should not walk in darkness. So we must bring these two themes together and see that the Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah and is the Light of His people.
Are you in a situation where you wish desperately that a little light could be shed on the matter? Do you feel that you are groping in the darkness and want someone to turn on the lights? The entire Bible witnesses to the fact that people who do not know the Lord are indeed walking in darkness. In Psalm 107:10 the Psalmist speaks of those without God as those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
If you are child of God and still sense that you are wandering in some dark and difficult place then you need to come to the Lord and present our text to Him. You need to cry out to your Saviour and ask Him to make light the path ahead of you. Tell the Lord you want the same situation as the Psalmist. Remind the Lord that He has done it before for His people and now you wish it for yourself. Tell the Lord you will not let Him go until He blesses you. Read out loud in your prayer Psalm 107:14 where it says, “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death”.
Tell the Lord that you wish the same blessing for Jesus’ sake. Do not stop praying these biblical thoughts until the Lord answers you.
Now if such praying seems foreign to you, you are not familiar with some of the great prayers in Scripture. It may be even more of a concern than simply ignorance of biblical prayers. You may be someone who still is in the darkness of eternal death. Possibly you have never called out to Jesus for the salvation He freely offers all who will come to Him. Perhaps you need to pray for your own salvation. You may need to come to Jesus with a contrite and humble heart asking for forgiveness.
Whatever your reason for being in the dark tonight, look to Jesus as the Light and seek Him today. The saintly Horatio Bonar wrote the following words. Read them and act upon the message they convey.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till traveling days are done.