Do you ever read along in your Bible and end up on a rabbit trail as one verse leads to one thought, that thought leads to another verse, and you find yourself ending in a different part of the Bible from where you started? I love these little rabbit trails that teach me so much. I want to invite you along as I followed Psalm 36:9 the other day in an exploration to further understanding how God is light.
Some friends and I were reading through this verse the other week, and it really caused us to stop and reread it. And look at it in a few different versions.
For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. ~ New Living Translation
“For the wellspring of life is with you. By means of your light we see light.” ~ Christian Standard Bible
“You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light.” ~ Good News Translation
“(f)or with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light.” ~ Homan Christian Standard Bible
Seeing Requires Light
A post called “How the Human Eye Sees” opens simply with this statement – “It’s all about light. Light reflects off an object, and if that object is in your field of vision, it enters the eye.” Any article you read on vision states definitively that it’s the light entering our eyes that makes vision possible.
We forget that it takes light to see. Or rather, we take the light for granted, and expect that the ability to see is our own.
But it’s all about the light. Or as the Psalm says, “In your light we see light.” God is the light by which we see and understand clearly.
The verse reminds me of others that I think further illuminate its meaning when you take time to ponder them.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23
Similarly, I find a contrast between light for our eyes equaling life and darkness for our eyes equaling wickedness within Psalm 36 itself. Verses 1-3 read, “There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.”
Without the fear of God “before their eyes”, or as their light source, they don’t recognise their slippery slope into ignorance, deceitfulness, and sin.
Look at this verse:
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV
This verse, especially, speaks so much clarification to the other two. We see ourselves and everything more clearly when we see who Jesus is. And yes, for now that vision may be cloudy. But there is a light that shines figuratively in our understanding when we are looking at who Christ is. God is the light by which we see and understand everything else.
Peace, an example
Take for example our understanding of peace.
So many of us, myself included, can get caught up at looking at circumstances, relationships and impossibilities and become anxious, worried and fearful. “Looking” at Jesus reveals a caring Lord who has our best interests at heart and has everything under control. Finally, we get it. Jesus is in control and we can have peace.
When the lightbulb goes on in our heads, when we see Jesus as he is, when we get it, the reasons for fear disappear.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose heart is steadfast because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
God is light
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5
What other ways has “seeing God’s light” helped you to see light and receive life?