Feeling the Darkness
And the Lord said unto Moses, “Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days, but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. – Exodus 10:21-23
Close yourself in an inner room at night and extinguish every light so that nothing but absolute pitch remains. This is perhaps the nearest we can approach to appreciating the darkness in Egypt. A darkness so thick and heavy that it could be felt. Though poetically put, when one is enveloped in complete blackness there is almost a claustrophobic feeling that begins to overtake you so that even breathing becomes a task. All of which is greatly increased if you have no control over the light, and you have no idea when the light may return. Because, you see, it wasn't just that the sun did not shine in Egypt; they didn't have light from any source -- candles, lamps, fire, all went dark.
Egyptian life came to an absolute halt. No cultivating the fields, no tending the livestock, no washing the laundry, no fetching the water, no frivolity, no nothing. Every Egyptian stayed in his place for three days, not able to see another face that entire time. Imagine the anguish for parents of young children or the helplessness for caretakers of the infirmed. Nothing could be done. Everyone was completely blind and utterly lost, and no doubt terrified of the dark.
Where then was Ra in all of this – creator and giver of light, warmth, and growth? Why did their beloved sun god abandon them to their fate? Ra never left them. He was right there the whole time in the darkness – etched out of stone and just as useless as ever. God Almighty’s glory was declared. He and He alone reigns supreme. Every plague demonstrated His majesty and the impotence and futility of their pagan gods, and this blanket of black left no doubt of Ra's powerlessness.
However, during this whole period of being cut off from the light, God’s people remained protected. The Israelites all had light in their dwellings, which meant more than just illumination. It meant security and peace, an understanding that the Almighty truly was caring for them and protecting them from all harm, a realization that God loves and cherishes those who serve Him faithfully. The great I AM was there with them, and He would never forsake them. He would deliver them out of bondage just as He had promised, and He would light the way.
The entire race of mankind is blind and lost in darkness, but the light of the world has come to shine in the dark places and to illuminate the way. You’ve felt the darkness long enough. Allow the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver you into His marvelous light so you that can be protected and warmed by His glory. Leave the darkness behind and be transformed into his marvelous light. There is none other than can save you. He will remain with you if you will only follow Him.
Andrew R. Lehmann