Psalm 36: When Light Illuminates Light

Read Psalm 36.

In our home, the emergency lanterns are tucked away in a closet upstairs—out of sight and high above curious fingers. But since we may not be upstairs when the power goes out during a thunderstorm, I have a flashlight downstairs in the laundry room. In other words, I have a light to help me find the light.

In Psalm 36, David says to God, “In your light we see light” (v. 9). At first, that sounds redundant. How can light illuminate light? But that’s the way it is in our world. In the dim haze apart from Christ, it can be hard to tell the difference between light and darkness, but in His light, the world becomes clearer, easier to see. Truth and lies are separated; good and evil divide; the way home diverges from the way that leads to death.

I know—it might sound unnecessary at first. If light is light, how can we miss it? But the Bible actually says that not all that appears as light emanates from the true light. Satan himself can come as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). And of course, when Jesus arrived, He found plenty of people who talked a good game about being in the light. But they were blind guides, unfit to lead others because of the darkness that enveloped them (Matthew 15:14; 23:16; Luke 6:39). The apostle Paul later wrote that the Jewish people, apart from Christ, only deluded themselves into thinking they were in the light (Romans 2:17–24).

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). It seems life and light go together, and they flow from the Son: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness was not overcome it” (John 1:4–5; see also 4:14).

We live in an age when light appears to shine from many different places, varying in brightness and color. “You have your truth, and I have mine,” we hear people say. But God is the one source of truth, and all truth belongs to Him. His is the only true light; all the rest are counterfeit. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (8:12). Only His light will lead us onto the good path.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7)

We need the light to find the light.


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