by Lim Chong Teck
24 July 2011
It was sometime in April that we had an opportunity to visit Tempurung Caves which was organized by the Kota Kemuning brethren. The experience of going into a cave was something that I had never done before. To the bats that inhabited the place, our presence was probably not a surprise as unnumbered many had come by watching the wonder of God’s creation albeit hidden to those who have not entered therein. Apart from the fun filled fellowship and the spirit of Christian comradeship in helping one another complete the one hour course, we also had the chance of experiencing a moment of complete darkness having switched off all our lights. And when we all held our peace the only thing we could hear was the sound of water flowing and perhaps the sound of our own breaths or even the sound of our heart beats. What astonished me most was when one of us turned on the first torch light, the small insignificant torch light comparing to the immense darkness became a beacon & completely enables us to see. I came back with the thought to write on the subject of light & darkness from the perspective of the bible and our capability to sense and function in these two environments. While it is not exhaustive I hope to share the following thoughts.
Light for Time
The bible speaks of God creating the heavens & earth in Genesis 1: 1. And in Genesis 1:2 speaks of one of the characters of earth… Darkness was on the face of the deep. In verse 3 Then God said let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
With the creation of light, God in essence had set in the sequence of time by calling it a day when evening and morning cycle is complete. If we were to be in the cave for more than 24 hrs we would completely lose the sense of time as explained by our guide. We would not be able to tell the difference between morning & evening, day or night. It gives us a picture of how important sunrise is to us for a sense of time. Thank God for the sunshine! Of course the fuller elaborations of time happen in Genesis 1:14.
Some critics had questioned the timing of the creation of the greater light (Sun) & lesser light (moon) in chapter 1:16 as being made in the fourth day indicating a contradiction as light was created on the first day. To that we need to point out that scientific advances can definitely attest to the fact that there are more lights in the universe than the light of the Sun & Moon. Further to that we can also see as in the refinement of the creation of water in verse 2 and separations of waters as in the firmament in verse 7 & 8, I believe that God on the fourth day made refinements as to how the lights would to function.
Light to see
Other than the fact that light set in the sequence of time, the most obvious aspect that we can sense is the fact that with light we can see. I say this for most living beings as our bat friends in the cave were blind but they could “see” thru a special way that God had made them. In fact God has the ability to see through darkness as mentioned in Psalms 139:12. But as for us (humans) when in the cave in complete darkness we could see nothing! The lights help us to see so that we could find our way and not trip/fall. In Psalms 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Without God’s word we would be blind because there would be no light to guide us to God. We would falter as we know not where we were going.. Psalms 119: 130 The entrance of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.
God’s word gives us wisdom to chart our course so that we do not fall.
Jesus the Light
In speaking of Jesus in Jn 3:19 …..that the light has come into the world…..
Again in John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again saying “I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
I must say that even with the lights that we had shining through the darkness it could only help us see the way. We needed a guide to lead us to the right path and took us out of the cave of darkness to the open bright space again. I think of Jesus as our guide illuminating for us to see him as we follow Him to safety and comfort. Indeed God knew that it was not in man to direct his steps Jeremiah 10:23.Proverbs 16:25 warn us further.
I am so glad God has left us his lamp, the word of God to guide us and send The Light to show and enable us to make our journey back to God. Jesus says in Jn 12:35 that those who walk in darkness do not know where they go. That would be so true in our situation at the cave when light was switch off. There was no way for us to know where we were going. Indeed how dark it would be for mankind to be without Jesus & God’s Word. How great the darkness would be. Praise God that through Jesus the Light we can walk in the light and be children of light (Ephesians 5:8)
Some other thoughts in gist are as follows:-
Light of life
Jesus said that the words that I speak are life (Jn 6: 63 ) & if we follow Him (Jn 8:12)we will have the light of life. As sunlight is for the survival of plants and for life to function on earth so is God’s word and Jesus to us to have eternal life.
Lighted but cannot see
Light is not useful to us if we close our eyes or are blind.
This tells us not to be blinded by god of this age (2 Cor.4:2-4) but to receive light of the knowledge of the glory of God and the face of Jesus Christ(2 Cor. 4:6) While the blind man in John 9 received his sight through Jesus, the Pharisees were blinded by their unbelief & prejudices. The brightness of Jesus’ light was of no use or effect for they had close/blind their own eyes. Matt 6:2-23 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.
Light expose the surroundings & people
Jn 3 : 19-20 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
Ephesians 5: 13 But all things that are exposed are manifest by light, for whatever makes manifest is light
Christians are the light of the world
In Matt 5:14-16 “ You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Interestingly the seven churches in Revelations 1:20 were represented by seven lampstands, signifying the churches as lights to their communities.
Further to that, In Matt 24 concerning the parables of the 10 virgins the lamp lighted meant preparedness. The parable tells us that our lamp should be lighted up & shining for the arrival of the bridegroom. May our lights burn bright for others to glorify God and for the arrival of our Lord Jesus. In Jn 5:35 John the Baptist was an example quoted by Jesus as a burning shining light that had its impact on the people at that time.
Darkness depicts one lost, lost in sin 1 Peter 2:9 & Acts 26:18
While the trip in the cave was done in a short time, I am not sure how long will our journey on earth be but I thank God for His Lamp (the Word of God), Jesus the Light and the Christians’ light that surrounds me to help me in this journey back to God.
May we keep our ‘eyes’ open, use the Lamp of God to guide us and focus on Jesus the Light so that we can finished the course.