Darkness Not Darkness

Psalm 139:11-12

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

When we think of darkness as we study the Scripture, we tend to think of a moral metaphor—dark equals evil while light equals good. But this is not the only symbolic use of darkness. Darkness hides. Darkness obscures. Darkness is the refuge for the evil who wishes to hide his actions. Darkness is a threat against the safety of the innocent. Darkness is dangerous.

In Psalm 139, David has been rejoicing and marveling in the fact that God is all-present and all-knowing. God knows him inside and out. God knows David’s thoughts before he thinks them. God knows David’s words before he speaks them. God surrounds David, no matter where he goes.

Then, in verses 11-12, David speaks of darkness. The darkness cannot hide David. God sees right through it as if seeing in the noonday sun. And both negative applications of darkness can be applied here to help us to see the goodness of God.

Consider darkness as the shelter for the evil. When we want to do wrong, we want to hide. We want to say, “You can’t see me.” We want to avoid being known. But God sees. God knows. God is there. God is able to penetrate our deepest disguises and to do so without any effort at all.

We must let this fact impact how we think about our sin. We are not hidden from the Lord. No matter where we go or what we do, we are not hidden from his sight. We cannot do evil in a place where it is not visible to the God who made us.

Darkness is also dangerous, even depressing. Sometimes we feel hidden. Sometimes we feel like we fade away from being important to anybody. Sometimes we may wish to be known, but we feel like nobody sees us, nobody knows, nobody cares. But God sees. God sees through our darkness. Nothing can obscure his sight from us. He knows where we are. He knows what we need. He knows our hurts and hopes, our struggles and dreams. Even better, he, because he made us, knows exactly what we actually need and not merely our sin-warped desires.

God sees you in the dark. Let that call you to remember that darkness of any sort cannot hide your sin.

God sees you in the dark. Even more in keeping with the context of this psalm, let this comfort you if you know the Lord. You cannot be pulled away from his loving gaze. You cannot be dragged away to someplace he cannot find you. You cannot feel something he does not understand. You cannot melt into obscurity as if you do not matter to him. God sees you, and this is glorious.