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I suppose that like me, the announcement the other day about Stage 6 loadshedding struck you as rather dark news. It seems that South Africa goes from one crisis to another. Our presidency is in turmoil, there is enormous angst about the parole of a murderer, petrol and diesel prices are in the economic stratosphere, and Eskom can’t keep the lights on. I heard a man on the radio today lamenting that we in South Africa go to bed in the dark only to awake in the dark. How true. How disappointing. How hopeless? Not for the Christian.

A couple of months ago a fellow believer shared this poem: 


Lights go out,

we heave and sigh,

but what if we’re letting,

something pass us by?


The chance to remember in dark of night

that God has shone on us great light:

“In him was life, the Light of men,”

our hearts will never be dark again.


What if the comfort that Eskom steals

makes us ponder Paul’s appeal?

“Count all as loss that Christ may be

better known to you, for sweeter is he.”


Could we redeem the loss of power

by thinking this for the next two hours?

“We are citizens of another place,

Lord Jesus, we want to see your face!”


So, with every power switch,

this is the idea to pitch:

Set your mind on a deeper story,

for in that God gets the glory.

What a great exhortation—and rebuke. Even if you have solar. Whether in the dark, or in the light, let us look to the Light.

Complaining is all too easy and perhaps that is a major reason for the book of Numbers. Murmuring, grumbling, criticising, discontentment, and unbelief pervade the book. But something else pervades even deeper: the light of the faithfulness of God. As dark as things became, there was always a pillar of fire over the tabernacle with the lampstand within burning bright.

As we will see on Sunday, despite the dark discontent and powerless disobedience of the first generation, God brought the new generation to the verge of the Promised Land. And we know from the book of Joshua that God would empower them to inherit it. It would be “lights out” for the Canaanites and their false religion, while the lamps in Yahweh’s tabernacle would be “turned on.” The very bad land would be given opportunity to become a holy land. As long, that is, as God’s people would set their minds “on a deeper story.” If Israel would keep before them God’s promise of his Redeemer (Genesis 3:15; 12:1–3), they would effectively steward the light of God’s presence in an otherwise very dark place.

Sadly, we know that Israel failed; yet God remained faithful. He sent his Son into what was a very bad place and eventually the lights would go out in that place, Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37–38; 24:29–31). But our Lord would establish the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), the church (1 Peter 2:9–10), which would be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) amid the darkness of rebellion and ruin. Yes, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are God’s light shining in a sin-darkened world (Philippians 2:15). But, as Paul tells us, we will only effectively shine as we “do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). So, as we face another crisis in our land, let us be helped by our poet who reminds us, “So with every power switch, this is the idea to pitch: Set your mind on a deeper story, for in that God gets the glory.”

In the dark, but with the light, alongside you.