The Hour of the Power of Darkness
The Hour of the Power of Darkness
The hour of the power of darkness is no mysterious assembly of poetic prose. It is a real hour that every soul is tried under.
It is the hour where it seems that no amount of prayer and pleading can abate the tempest or stop the torrents of destruction from sweeping away the things that are dear in our sight. It’s an hour in which it seems to all our senses that the ear of heaven has shut itself up to our cries and that relief has swiftly fled from our grasp. There are untold atrocities that occur under the eyes of an all-seeing God. It is not possible that a God whose tender compassions drove Him to sacrifice life itself, One whose sympathetic nature has bound itself in the most touching ties of love, stands aloof with unfeeling disposition. What is it then that restrains the arms of Omnipotence from thundering upon the earth with atmospheric splitting holiness and administering immediate justice upon the legions of the satanic hosts who have inspired men to commit cruel and inhumane crimes against humanity? Surely there is no lack of power, no lack in compassion. Then why the seeming silence at the hour where terror has unleashed it’s fury?
I found myself wrestling again, wrestling with agonizing prayers for mercy as the torrential floods seemed to passover the doors of my soul, sparing not things that were precious in my eyes.
I had been reading on the life of Christ and the severity of His conflict with Satan in wilderness. Bereft of human companionship and without the necessities of food and water, as Divinity suppressed its inner resource of life and allowed His dying humanity to suffer want, the fight to remain assured of His kinship with the Father began. Assailed by loneliness, earthly comforts and apparently forsaken of heaven, the enemy began to press upon tempted frail human frame of Christ the doubt, “If you be the Son of God.” Yet the terrible struggle to dispel the thought of being forsaken of God was just a foretaste of what He was to undergo during the “hour of the power of darkness.” Jesus would allow Himself to come under the confines of the grave and His humanity succumb to death. This hour must happen. And as I came to understand in prayer, study and experience, so must all of His saints. Whether in trials of faith or in the final throes of death.
Reading through the book of Chronicles and Kings we catch a sweeping glimpse of the history of the valiant and the infamy of the heart-hearted, which is strewn upon the pages with lessons for our walk of faith. I found myself cringing as I turned the pages and saw God delivering His people into the hands of the enemy for a season of chastening. The proud and cruel conquerors of Samaria, Assyria, Babylon, Edom, Ammnon and Moab swelled with arrogance as they stepped upon the neck of their captives and contributed their triumph to the power of their own arm. It was the hour of the power of darkness. God would not prevent the wave that His own hand had stirred, from crashing upon the shores. The prayers of the prophets fill the Old Testament with heart wrenching grief as their cries ascend into heaven in anguish that their Companion, their Light and the Strength of their life has turned His anger against them. The heavens were turned to brass and the petitions were echoed unanswered as “the overwhelming scourge passes through.”
It is a chastening that none can spare themselves from. Whether Israel of old or the believers in Christ today.
All will meet a day, when “As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.” Isaiah 28:19-20. Rich or poor, God tests the hearts of men and especially towards His beloved people does He stretch forth His hand to destroy the idols that have consumed the affections. Yet with great anguish to we see our cherished earthly rewards depart. “And I will encamp against you all around, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siegeworks against you. And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper.” Isa 29:3-4. Though the darkness seems to prevail, Christ soon interrupts the jeering of the enemy and with pity for those whom His hands have corrected He raises in their defense.
“But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust…And in an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder… And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night…For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off…Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale…And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.” “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:5-7, 17, 22, 24, 18,19.
Before the Angel of the Lord struck the Assyrian army and killed 185,000 of the Assyrian hosts, Judea had already been ransacked by the enemy. Many had been slaughtered by the Assyrian sword. Only a remnant remained as Hezekiah petitioned the people to “return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria… Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to his sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him.” 2 Chronicles 30:6, 8-9. Though the enemy had their hour of victory, there would be an hour soon near in which Christ would vindicate the cause of the innocent and repay injustice. Time and time again we see this theme occurring. The enemy triumphs, God uses the tragic event to cleanse the hearts of His people and then turns the battle from His people to the camps of their desolators.
In overwhelming scourge of the hour of the power of darkness, Christ yielded His life in submission to the grave.
Yet when He raised up, He rent the gates of death and broke the chains of captivity with such severity that it’s power would never again clasp the heel of man and be victorious.
His resurrection was the guarantee that the devastation of darkness may light upon man for a time, but it’s power nor it’s plight will endure. “Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? For thus says the LORD: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” “I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. … I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey.” Isaiah 49:24-26; Ezekiel 34:10-12, 22.