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QUESTION: If God is light, why is there darkness around His throne?


ANSWER: This is an interesting question with great significance – especially to those who have gone through the “waters,” “floods” or “fires” of the normal Christian life.  How can 2 Sam 22:12 say, “And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies” when “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The relationship between God’s light and His use of darkness is a fascinating study.


A pavilion is a temporary, movable habitation.  In a military environment it would be used to identify the war room or plans and operations room for strategizing a war.  If you were allowed into the pavilion it was because you had been invited by the commander.  There is a story in the Old Testament about a man named Eglon who invited Ehud into his summer parlour.  He was invited to come in alone with his message from God.  (Judges 3)  Of course we know that his message was death but the significance of the invitation is seen in verse 25.  There we see that not even the guards were allowed in without an invitation and it wasn’t until the servants “were ashamed” that they went in to find out what was taking so long.  If you find yourself in God’s dark pavilion with clouds all around it isn’t time to fear and make a wrong decision, it’s time to rejoice because you’re closer to God than you’ve ever been.  In the pavilion God gives you His personal, undivided attention.  Don’t mess up and run.  I’m talking to preachers, teachers, lay workers, new babes in Christ.  Stand fast.


On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus’ disciples had to enter the cloud before they saw His glory.  Paul was on a ship in a terrible storm that lasted over two weeks.  It wasn’t until every last item was thrown into the sea (from cargo to tackling) and the men fought for their lives that Paul could stand and say there “shall be no loss of any man's life among you” as long as the men “abide in the ship” (Acts 27).  Don’t leave a ship in the midst of a storm.


Moses entered a cloud on Mount Sinai before his countenance glowed as evidence of having been with God.  It was on that mount he asked to see God.  If God allowed Moses to see His face Moses would have died.  Instead God said that He would let Moses see His back parts (Exodus 33:23).  We would die if we saw God’s glory but we can see His ‘back-parts:’ His grace, His mercy and His love.


Are you sitting in darkness today?  Micah said, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.” (7:8)


Go read Genesis 1:2.  It was when darkness was on the face of the deep that the Spirit of God moved.  Darkness for a Christian can be scary unless we have learned what God is trying to do.  When you can’t see His hand trust His Word.


To those who have never trusted Christ I leave you with a thought from Isaiah (50:10), “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.”