What to do When the Lights Go Out

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The prophet Isaiah warns God's people about improperly responding in times of difficulty.

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“What to do When the Lights Go Out”
Isaiah 50:10-11
Isaiah 50:10–11 NLT
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. 11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.
INTRODUCTION:
Have you ever experienced a time of intense spiritual darkness? Time when it seemed you could get no word from God? Your prayers seem to get nowhere? Your experience is not peculiar. All of us experience blackout periods in our spiritual lives.
What is darkness? It is when the light is withdrawn.
*Dr. J. Oswald Chambers said “There are times when God withdraws his conscious blessings to teach us to trust him.”
It is during such times that we feel like crying out like Jesus did on the cross.
T. S.: What should we do when we walk through dark times?

I- REFUSE TO DOUBT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. (Isaiah 50:10 a)

Isaiah 50:10a NLT
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.
A- Trials and difficulties are not indications that you have lost your relationship with the father.
1- Notice who the Lord addresses through his prophet.
a. He addresses the one who “fears the Lord.”
(1) This terminology was used in reference to Old Testament saints.
b. The 2nd qualifier for the person or persons being addressed by the prophet is that this person “obeys the Lord’s servant.”
(1) This identifies the message is for those who not only believe in God, but obey him and obey the teachings of God’s servant.
2- Perilous times and periods of adversity are the common lot of mankind.
a. Scriptures also say that there is no temptation or trial that occurs that is not common to human experience. (1 Cor. 10:13)
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
3- Suffering and difficulty also come to those who are godly.
a. One clear example of this principle is seen in the life of the Old Testament saint named Job. (Job 1:1-5)
Job 1:1–5 NLT
1 There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters. 3 He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. 4 Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. 5 When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.
b. This principle is seen in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15)
2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Hebrews 4:15 NLT
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
c. This principle is clearly taught in the New Testament.
B- Trials and difficulties should make us examine our relationship with God.
1- While darkness and difficulties should not make us doubt a relationship that does exist, we need to make sure that that relationship does exist.
a. Notice that there are 2 qualifiers that the prophet gives to indicate to whom he is speaking.
(1) It is written to the person who is in a relationship with God.
(2) It is written to the person who is walking in obedience to God.

II- REFUSE TO ALLOW THE DARKNESS TO STOP YOUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS. (Isaiah 50:11).

Isaiah 50:11 NLT
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.
A- Don’t try to create your own light or light your own fire.
1- Because doing so only leads refuse to pain and sorrow.
a. Man-made substitutes never work.
Example of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 16.
2- Because artificial lights are deceptive.
a. Colors do not appear the same in artificial light.
b. The seriousness of the damage to something or the injury to someone is many times not clearly seen in artificial light.
c. What appears hopeless in the dark or in artificial light may not be.
Back to Abraham and Sarah- the lack of an heir seemed hopeless, but was not! (Genesis 21)
3- Because walking in artificial light can result in disaster.
a. Biblical examples:
Abraham & Sarah walked in their own artificial light and it resulted in disaster for their family and the world.
Moses walked in the fire he created and wound up in the Midian desert for 40 years. (Exodus 2:11-15)
Exodus 2:11–15 NLT
11 Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. 12 After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. 13 The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. “Why are you beating up your friend?” Moses said to the one who had started the fight. 14 The man replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” 15 And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well.
King Saul lit his own fire and lost God’s favor and guidance.( 1 Sam. 13:7-15)
1 Samuel 13:7–15 NLT
7 Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead. Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. 9 So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. 10 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, 11 but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” 13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 15 Samuel then left Gilgal and went on his way, but the rest of the troops went with Saul to meet the army. They went up from Gilgal to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. When Saul counted the men who were still with him, he found only 600 were left!
B- Do make the choice to trust God and rely upon Him. (Isaiah 51:10)
What should you do when all you see is darkness?
1- Keep on doing what you know God wants you to do.
a. Worship (Hebrews 10:25)
Hebrews 10:25 NLT
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
b. Pray (1 Thess. 5:17)
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT
17 Never stop praying.
c. Read and study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15)
2 Timothy 2:15 NLT
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
d. Obey God’s Word (James 4:17)
James 4:17 NLT
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
e. Witness (Acts 1:8)
Acts 1:8 NLT
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
f. Carry out the ministry to which He called you in the light.
Like the man walking in a dark tunnel.
2- Trust in God and rely upon Him.
a. Trust in God in response to his character. (Titus 1:2)
Titus 1:2 NLT
2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.
b. Trust in God to teach you and mature your character.
There are things that God can teach you only during times of trial and darkness. (Romans 5:3 – 5)
Romans 5:3–5 NLT
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
There are some things you can only see in the dark – like stars.
We only learn to rely upon the Lord through hard times.
The word translated “rely upon” is the same word used in Psalm 23:4, where it is translated “staff”.
Psalm 23:4 NLT
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
We must learn to lean upon (rely upon) the Lord as the shepherd leans on his staff.
*Old Testament saints learn to lean on God –
(Moses at the Red Sea, Joseph in prison)
we must learn to wait upon him in darkness. (Psalm 130:5 – 8)
Psalm 130:5–8 NLT
5 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. 6 I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.
CONCLUSION:
Why does God have us walk in darkness? He does so to test our faith. Faith must be tested. An untested faith is a worthless faith. (James 2:18)
James 2:18 NLT
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
The songwriter wrote:
“when darkness seems to hide his face,
I rest in his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy Gail,
my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand.”
Remember: “walking in darkness is just as much a part of your fellowship with God as your fearing and obeying in the light.”
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