“As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, a dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgement on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” Genesis 15:12-14
In Exodus 10:21, the Lord says to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” As this descendant of Abraham lifted his arm did he know he was summoning through the power of God the fulfillment of those promises bestowed upon his slumbering ancestor? Did Moses know he was summoning the same dreadful darkness God had caused to fall on Abraham? Everything God had promised in that lop-sided covenant was now coming to pass. Abraham’s descendants, enslaved to the Egyptians for 400 years were now innumerable like the stars. But God was bringing judgement on the nation they served and this dreadful darkness was the ninth plague Moses had called down. God had heard their cry and was coming to rescue His people.
Later, it was another descendant of Abraham’s who needed rescuing. In Psalm 18:6-19. King David writes,
“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice.” And then David says, “He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under His feet… He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him.” And He rescued David. “He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me… He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
Hundreds of years later, God was on another rescue mission. This time, not just for a king, or one people, but for every tribe and tongue and nation on earth. God bowed the heavens and came down. He came as a man, a descendant of Abraham and heir to David’s throne. And He came to die. And when He gave His life as a ransom for many, darkness, once again came over the land. But this time, the plague was on Himself. Jesus became the curse for us, right there on the cross. Luke 23:44 says, “It was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed.”
Oh, but listen to the prophet’s words in Isaiah 60:1-3!
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again! And by His death and resurrection He rescued us from our own strong enemies, sin and death. He rescued us from the wrath of God against our sin. He rescued us because He delighted in us. Just as light shone for the Israelite slaves in their little corner of Egypt when darkness was over the rest of the land, the Light that brings light to the whole world arose from their own midst. You need only cry out for rescue and God will hear and save! Come, friend, to the brightness of His rising.