When Darkness Becomes As Light- Psalm 139:11-12

As we continue in our examination of Psalm 139, we come to the conclusion of the first part of the Psalm, which is written in two parts. The passage at hand serves as the conclusion of the first part, whose fundamental message is that God knows us better than we even know ourselves, all of which sets the stage for the second part of the Psalm, whose theme is that God loves us in spite of all He knows about us. As we examine verses 11 and 12, we find that we have now come to the end of David’s “descent”, his journey to the “far side of the sea”. He begins verse eleven with the phrase “If I say”. The if here shows David is making a point about something, supposing he has said something, without telling us whether or not he actually ever has, and his message here is relevant to us whether he actually has said it or not. The reason for the emphasis on this is that the Hebrew word “said” here is a word which refers not merely to verbalized sounds, but to words expressed in actions. This is the type of saying which always produces doing, the communication comes in the form of action. And what David “says” to us here is that he wants to describe for us the experience which we undergo when we choose to dwell too long in the far side of the sea. Where this ultimately leads is into a place where “light becomes night”. David here uses a very familiar metaphor, the metaphor of light and darkness, but what does he mean by its usage here? David has been talking about either moving toward the Lord (into the light) or away from the Lord (into the darkness), and his use of this metaphor stems from an episode which literally occurred in his own life. If we recall our previous examination of Psalm 143, we will remember that the writing of this Psalm finds David hiding in a cave from a search party sent out by his own son to kill him. He reaches the point in this cave in which he seriously considers simply walking out of the cave and allowing the search party to find and kill him, to basically commit suicide. In this incident David had made a series of choices which had led him further and further away from the light and deeper and deeper into the darkness, both literally and metaphorically. What David refers to here in Psalm 139 is the conclusion of his journey into darkness, and that conclusion is the place where light becomes as darkness and darkness becomes as light. We may wonder how this could happen to a believer, how one who is an object of the covenant love of God for His people could arrive at this place. As believers, we must always be aware of the presence of an enemy, of one who wants only to steal, kill and destroy, and this enemy is a master of deception. He is one who is an expert in making light appear as darkness and darkness appear as light. He will, if given the opportunity, lead the believer where he led David, to the place in which taking his own life seems like a good option, seems like the right thing to do. He does so by getting the believer to accept his lies over and above the truth of the Word of God, by feeding them a steady diet of lies about their uselessness and lack of worth, telling them over and over the lie of their uselessness and worthlessness. If this is accepted as “truth” rather than the real truth of their infinite worth and eternal usefulness in Christ, they will eventually come to the place in which they believe the lie that taking their own lives seems like the right, noble, loving thing to do. They believe that they have become such a “burden” to those they care about that their loved ones would be better off without them around, and suicide can be made to look to them like the right thing to do. One of the ultimate acts of darkness can thus be made to seem like an act of “light”. What David describes here has happened in far too many lives (though even one would be too many), and the question before us in light of this is how do we keep this from happening to anyone else? We would suggest that we must always endeavor to continually keep one another in the light, to remind one another as often as possible of our true worth, of the fact that we are not “worthless”, but worth God sending His only Son to die for, that we are not useless, but that God had a purpose and plan for us before He ever created us, and that we are never a burden to those who love us but that they love us because they know they are better off us with us around and worse off without us. The way to help prevent this descent into darkness is to continually share the light, the truth of the Word of God, which we know will “shine in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it” (John 1:5).

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