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Treasures in Dark Places

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Treasures in Dark Places

Isaiah 45:1-3

I want to focus our attention on verse 3 this morning.  The Bible tells us that God can give us treasures of darkness.  When we think about darkness many images and thoughts come to our minds.  Dread, fear, sin, evil, pending judgment, the increase of crime, etc.  In the beginning, God divided the light and darkness.

Genesis 1:2-4 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And 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 the darkness.  The Bible call Hell a place of outer darkness.  Man has invented torches, candles, flashlights, and light bulbs in order to drive away darkness.  Those that are attracted to darkness are living a life contrary to the character of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Terrible things happen to us in the darkness, and when we can’t find a way out on our own, we turn to drastic measures.  That is why so many take their own lives; they see no other way out.  There is a lot more we could say about the darkness, but I want to say that the last thing we expect is to find treasures in the darkness.  Each one of us is going to have trials and troubles.  Sometimes we have to go through the darkness for God to get our attention and for Him to lead us where He wants us to be.  I want to assure you this morning, if God is in it, there will be treasures in dark places.

1.  God’s presence in the darkness.  It may be hard for you to believe this morning, but even in your darkest moments God is there.  He has said in His Word.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  But we have been through times when we weren’t completely sure that God was there with us.  There have been times in our lives when we thought that God had left us.  We called His name, reached out for His hand, and longed for His love.  Let me assure you this morning, He was there.  He is always there.  God dwells in the darkness.

Exodus 20:21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.  Thick darkness. He is not dark in and of Himself, but He can dwell in the dark. 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 There were no windows in the Tabernacle, but the presence of God dwelt there.  God dwells in the dark, and the light.  The hot and the cold, the rainy and the sunny, in times of sorrow and times of joy.  God dwells everywhere!

I think David understood this when he was inspired to write.

Psalms 139:11-12 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Think about the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.  His brothers despised him, threw him into a pit, and sold him into slavery.  He spent time in an Egyptian prison, and was forsaken by his so called friends.  Three times God said, “I am with you.”

George Young was a poor country preacher. He was one of those that preached the truth, and not everyone liked hearing it.   He worked as a carpenter to make ends meet.  He finally had saved enough money to build his family a modest home.  One night while he and his family were at a meeting, some thugs came and burned his house down.  He arrived to find that he had lost everything.  This event in his life caused him to sit down and write a song.

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

2.  The treasure of lessons learned in the darkness.

This is a true statement:  We learn more in times of adversity than we do in times of blessing.  God has our attention in the low times, and who knows what we are thinking about in the good times.  Our experience in times of darkness has shown us that we respond wrong, pray wrong, think wrong, and go the wrong way.  In the spiritual sense, there are only two things you can do in the dark times; look for a way out, or look for God.  Let the darkness drive you closer to God.  If you head towards Him, you will come out stronger and wiser than before.  Let me tell you a story about my personal time of darkness.  Some of you may remember that on New Year’s Eve last year, I preached from this text in our evening service.  We once again were relegated to the band room because there was no heat in the auditorium.  I remember saying that I believed that 2007 would be the year that God blessed our church with a new meeting place.  I had given up on ever acquiring this property for a number of reasons (price, personality, and resistance).  I had had enough of the school’s accusations and lack of cooperation to last a lifetime, and I went on a property search.  . I found an empty building at copper basin and white spar, it wasn’t in the greatest condition, but I could envision our church meeting there.  I inquired about the Ruth St property; the owners were getting desperate to unload it. I drove down to Scottsdale to meet with a finance specialist to see what our options were.  The news wasn’t so good.  Then the little Lutheran Church on Gurley became available.  It was small but it would meet our needs for the time.  We talked about it on a Wednesday night, and we decided to make a move in that direction.  I called the realtor on Thursday morning, and discovered that while we were discussing it on Weds, someone had made an offer to lease part of the property.  My heart sunk.  I was sure that was our last opportunity to move into a better meeting place.  I was so down, I recall telling the Lord, if we can’t get out of the school you are going to have to find another man to take my place.  I was looking for my own way out of the darkness.  I humbled myself and called Ty Lamb again about this property.  He said they had just signed on with a realtor, but they had put an exclusion in the contract.  There was a glimmer of light shining in the darkness.  Then on 4/2, Allen Sizemore delivered this pulpit to my home.  I said Lord, you gave us a pulpit, now give us a place to put it.  That same night, we had dinner with the Lamb’s, and for the first time, I thought we have finally reached the point where we would come to an agreement that we could both live with.  I told him that we would put 100,000 down, and my wife kicked me under the table.  We only had 30000 saved so far.  He said we needed to close in about 30 days.  On May 8th, I walked into CTA with the money in hand, and here we are. Let me tell you what God taught me during this time. He taught me to pray.  He taught me to wait.  He taught me to live by faith.  But most importantly, He taught me to listen.  I needed to go through the darkness in order to better appreciate the light.

Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Psalms 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Psalms 119:75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Are you in the darkness?  What is God trying to teach you?  Did you learn from your time in the darkness?  You say preacher I don’t like the darkness.  I don’t think any believer does.  Be comforted in knowing this.  One day, God is going to drive darkness from our presence as we spend eternity with Him in glory.

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Revelation 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 

 

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