I’ve been watching the sun set, and I love the contrast of light and dark, the colors the light makes in the sky. Have you ever entered a dark room, wherein there is only one light? Amidst the shadows, our eyes are naturally drawn to the source of the light. We fix our eyes on the source of the illumination. Once the room is entirely bright, we might forget to look at the light fixture on the ceiling or the candle on the counter. But when it is still mostly dark, we look to the light.
I was reading in II Peter: And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1
In II Peter 1, Peter relates the light to a prophetic word concerning Jesus. In chapter 3, he expounds on the reality that Jesus is coming back, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth and we must be vigilant. He doesn’t want the early church to grow tired of waiting for Jesus to return and bring them all to the place where Righteousness dwells. He doesn’t want them distracted by the debauchery of the world. When the darkness closes in, look at the lamp! When it is bright all around, don’t forget the source of the light!
In ancient Rome, it made sense that Peter would worry about the lure of evil. It was a godless place with talk of religion largely sidelined as orators exhibited their skills of wit and reason. Unproven prophecies were likely to be left at the door, forgotten or ignored as foolish beliefs of the dim-witted or uneducated. Money and status reigned supreme. Caesar was considered a god. Deathly, blood-filled games were the sport of choice. Sexual activity was just another part of the party. Peter is imploring the young, fledgling church to remember that the prophecy of the Scriptures was inspired by the One True God. He doesn’t want them to mindlessly follow the cultural dictates of the world around them but to PAY ATTENTION to the LIGHT!
I imagine it’s kind of like when a child of mine is on a technology device and I need his or her attention. “Look at me!” “Come here!” “Can you hear me?!” “I need to talk to you!” It often takes waving my hand between a small face and a small screen to be recognized. God is telling us, “Hey! I am putting a bright light in the midst of the dark. You can’t miss me. Look at me! Pay attention to me! Hello!! I am RIGHT HERE.” He makes it easy and yet still our eyes wander away…How many times, after all, do I miss the blaze of glory of the setting sun?
Until his death, Peter continued to testify that He heard the voice of God speaking to Jesus on the mountaintop. He testifies that he saw Jesus ascend to the heavens. He testifies that Scripture is really real, and not something a person made up but that it is the actual Word of God. And Peter seems convinced that if we pay attention to the light and not to the darkness, we too will be convinced. He also seems to understand the lure of the world, the attraction to darkness, the deceitfulness of the wicked. Let us not lose focus on what is important, on what is true, on what is right, on what is good. Let us not lose hope in the future of a new heaven and a new earth. Let us not forget the words of Jesus and shine them forth in the dark places. Let us not pay more attention to the things of the world than we do to the things of God. Allow God to shine a light on the dark spaces of your heart and mind and soul, and He will heal them.
And so I join together with Peter in prayer, found in II Peter 3:17-18, for myself and for all of you: “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” Father, even while we are in dark places, help us pay attention to the Light and be light-bearers for you. Help us grow in Your grace. Help us see You. We look forward to the day that the morning star rises and light surrounds and drowns the darkness. In Jesus’ name, amen.