Have you ever experienced impenetrable darkness? Perhaps a relationship has crumbled, a loved one has died, or you have fallen (again) into a particular sin, leaving you wondering if there is really light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps job loss and financial uncertainty have left you in deep darkness. Perhaps, as was the case with David, opposition from enemies has left you in deep despair, not knowing where to turn.
Psalm 36 offers some help in this regard. David once again faced opposition from some whose hearts were steeped in wickedness and who displayed no fear of God. Their thoughts, words, deeds, and motives were troublesome, deceitful, and evil in every respect. When David considered his enemies and the opposition they posed, he saw only darkness (vv. 1–6).
In the face of such darkness, where could he find hope? Where could he look for light? In a rather strange use of language, he tells us: “In your light do we see light” (v. 9). It’s an unusual phrase, but what he means is that, as he gazed at the goodness of God, he saw with fresh clarity what real goodness looks like.
In contrast to the wicked, fickle enemies who opposed him, God’s love was steadfast, his protection certain, and his provision abundant. In him was life, not death; light, not darkness (vv. 7–9).
Crucially, this truth was more than systematic theology. Those who saw light in God’s light would experience sustaining grace (v. 10), while those who resisted the light would come to a terrible end (vv. 11–12).
This psalm highlights the inescapable and foundational character of God. In times of darkness and uncertainty, the only way to see light is to look to the light of God. When evil surround us, the only place to look for real goodness is to the goodness of God. Any attempt to find light without looking to God is groping in the darkness. But when we see God’s goodness for what it is, we find provision, protection, and sustaining grace that is more than sufficient to meet our needs.
Far too often, we are tempted to look to other people or things for light in the darkness. While God has graciously given us people and good gifts to help us in our walk, we will never really find the light unless we look for it in his light. That is one reason Christians should be encouraged to reflect on the attributes or names of God: because as we come to know God better, we come to understand more of what true goodness is and how God’s goodness is sufficient to overcome our darkness.
Let’s together find light in his light and thereby receive all we need to persevere when darkness envelopes us.