(Editor’s Note: This devotion is also written by Christiaan as William is still hospitalized, but stable and doing well.)
Rejoice not over me, O my Enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.Micah 7:8 (ESV)
Times always seem to be tough for God’s chosen people – typically because they had a propensity to abandon God and worship false idols. Micah is writing to the separated from Israel country of Judah at around 750 BC. Micah is calling out the wealthy who actively oppressed the poor and called for them to change their ways. But in between the famous verses about doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with your God and throwing our sins into the depths of the ocean sits this gem about sitting in darkness.
It’s been a rough number of years for my family, and the concept of hope has been intriguing. So, when I was reading in a devotional and I saw this verse was associated with the idea of concept it really resonated with me. I think Hope is something we often overlook. Much like breathing, we don’t think about it, or associate our feelings or actions with it, until it’s hampered or we lose it. But hope can be something tangible, after all, according to Jyn Erso, in the movie Rogue One “Rebellions are built on hope!”.
In 2013, just before things started going really crazy. I went to a concert of my favorite band, Five Iron Frenzy and I saw a shirt there that had a picture of a bird on it and it said, Hope Still Flies! it’s a line from their song, ‘A Dark and Stormy Night’ “I’ve been waiting, in half hearted sleep… just for hoping that hope still flies…” another line in that song is “I know that Hope has not forgotten me.”
Micah ends his series of messages in chapter 7 speaking a message of tempered hope (kinda like Théoden eh?) . Depending on the translator, the tenses of the writing could be closer to, “Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us…” It’s like he realizes he’s been hard on the people of Judah and doesn’t want them to become despondent. He’s reminding them that, much like in the past when they’ve fallen, they’ve gotten back up.
Much like with David (I previously wrote on Psalms 3:3 and 3:4), one of the things that I find so inspiring is the surety to which they speak. Micah acknowledges two big things. First, that there will be a falling. Something, someone, or someones (I don’t think that’s a real term) will fall. And that there will be times where we are in darkness – spiritual, financial, health wise… or maybe just actual darkness.
But he with complete surety mentions that when he falls, he will rise. And when in darkness, the LORD will be his light. It’s not a well intentioned, mostly true, but pseudo humble, “For though I fall, I may, if God is willing, and I choose to walk in his grace which I don’t deserve as a wretched sinner who God could and should smite with the holy fires of purification, rise again.” or “Though I sit in darkness, spiritually the Lord will help me keep a smile on my face.”
No, when we fall we WILL rise. When we’re in darkness God WILL be our light. Too often Christians give the world and other Christians confusing and often conflicting messages. Some people walk away from some popular TV preachers thinking that God wants what is best for us, and therefore won’t let us suffer, or that when we become a Christian, our lives will be happy sunshine and rainbows unless we sin, in which case God will make us suffer.
There is a reason why Samwise Gamgee, in Lord of the Rings, is one of the most universally beloved characters in all of literature, and I think it’s because he remains hopeful regardless of the situations. Frodo even remarks, “Nothing ever dampens your spirits, does it, Sam?”
It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.– Samwise Gamgee to Frodo Baggins, The Two Towers.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
One of the reasons I chose to write this Hope trilogy, the two verses from Psalms and this one, is because they’re something that I’m going through and I’m sharing with you what I’m learning. As I’m sure many of ya’ll know our founder William is my dad. He’s in the hospital for an unknown amount of time, for something pretty scary. So I’ll end taking a cue from micah.
May we have the surety that David, Micah, and Samwise have that darkness must pass and in the case of David and Micah that God will be our light and rescue. May we have surety that no matter what we go through, that we can have hope in God’s unchangeable character and if he did it for David, he can do it for us. But perhaps most importantly, may we understand that it’s ok if we don’t have that surety but, thankfully, it has no effect on the reality that we can have it.