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Let Your Light Shine Before Men

How important is light? All are familiar with it, yet we probably take it for granted until we need it in dark areas. Darkness is absence of light. Therefore, light dispels darkness. Light houses are important to the ship captain, as he glides into the harbor at night in treacherous waters that often covers reefs and hidden rocks underneath the waves. In Bible times, oil lamps and candles were used for light. I have in my possession one of my grandmother’s oil lamps that were used in the days before and during the depression era. I recall my mother talking about how this was the only source of light they had as night approached using “coal oil lamps.” Police today carry bright lights that are of such high lumens they can see objects in the light such as drug paraphernalia hidden in automobiles. Light is so important in today’s world.

            Jesus used the subject of light in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16). (All quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated). He used the object of light as a metaphor, showing the importance of influence his disciples were to have upon men then, and the lesson should be obvious for us today.

            As the earth receives and reflects light from the sun, Christians receive light from Christ. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Christians are to be reflections of the light of Jesus in this world of darkness. J. T. Marlin said, “It is easy to see why God in His word compares Christ to light. Light is one of the most beneficial of all the gifts from God. It makes all life possible, prevents disease and promotes growth” (The Sermon on the Mount).

            Abraham carried the light of God into Canaan when he followed God’s directions (see Heb. 11:8). Joseph carried that same light into Egypt, when he was sold as a slave, and rose to power under Pharaoh who said, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art” (See Gen. 41:38-39). Later, when Pharaoh came to power in Egypt that knew not Joseph (i.e. Joseph’s God), he put the Israelites in bondage.


Moses, at age eighty, under God’s instruction and power, returned to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of bondage under Pharaoh. By doing so he brought the light of God to them. Yet, Pharaoh and the Egyptians refused the light, and suffered ten plagues because of hardness of their hearts (see Exod. 7:13, 14:17; 1 Sam. 6:6). When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, God gave them light by a cloud and pillar of fire to light the way they should go (see 13:21-22).

            Later, Israel went into the land of Canaan. The Lord brought them into the land to be a light to that idolatrous and wicked nation of people that had turned away from God. Yet, Israel failed to show the true light of God in that land. The chose to become like those around them. Giving themselves in marriage to them, following their lifestyle and religion, Yet, the light of God was always available to those who choose to follow him. For example, David wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27:1). Solomon said, “But the path of the just is as the shining light” (Prov. 4:18). Further, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov. 6:23). The way of darkness ultimately brough Israel into Assyrian captivity. Judah followed later as they went into Babylonian captivity. Isaiah wrote, “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isa. 42:6-7). Yet, they had failed to be that light, except for a remnant (see Isa. 37:31).

            During his ministry, Jesus would warn, quoting from Isaiah, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15; see also Isa. 6:9-10). Some today have closed their eyes to truth.

To Be continued . . .



By Wayne Lankford

The Spiritual Sword

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