Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will arise; though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.
Obadiah 1:8-15) or their Chaldean conquerors. Light came to them in Babylon, through the witness borne by Daniel and his friends, the ministry of Ezekiel, the favour of Cyrus, and above all by their deliverance from the curse of idolatry before their restoration to their land. They may be applied also to a Church in a depressed or fallen state. A godly remnant could yet look forward to deliverance and revival. E.g. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-5). We may also use the words as describing the experience of a sinner humbled before God and man. Notice -
I. HIS PRESENT STATE.
1. He has fallen. Then he had stood before. He has been no hypocrite, but a pilgrim on the highway from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Like Christian in Bunyan's immortal allegory, he has been confronted by Apollyon. In the struggle he has been wounded in the head, the hand, and the foot. "Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and, wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian's sword flew out of his hand." Prostrate and powerless, he seems "drawn unto death and ready to be slain."
2. He sits in darkness. A hardened sinner in such a crisis may have a light, such as it is ("Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled," Isaiah 50:11). But the fallen Christian is heard bemoaning himself (Job 29:2, 3). The sun, the light of God's countenance, is gone. It is a night of mist. Not even a star of promise can be seen except when the mist is for a moment or two dispersed before a rising breath of the Divine Comforter, who, though grieved, will not depart.
3. He is exposed to the indignation of the Lord. He cannot attribute his darkness to sickness or nervous depression. In the gloom caused by conscience he sees the shadow caused by the righteous anger of God (lea. 59:1, 2). "Therefore we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness," "For our transgressions are multiplied," etc. (vers. 9, 12).
4. He has to bear the scorn of men. His enemies rejoice. This makes the cup of bitterness overflow. The self-righteous formalist thanks God he is not as other men, or even at this Christian. The profligate man finds one more excuse for asserting that there is no such thing as real religion (cf. Psalm 35:15, 16, 21, 25). We can imagine the morbid curiosity in the streets of Jerusalem, when it began to be whispered that a dark deed had been committed in the palace of King David, and that Uriah's death had been procured by foul means. Would not the men of Belial mock at the royal psalmist - seducer - murderer 1 Samuel 12:14)? How the soldiers and the servants round the fire within the judgment must have chuckled while Peter was weeping without! The world may hold its most riotous carnival, not when martyrs are burning at the stake, or their dead bodies are lying in the street of Sodom, but when the Saviour is wounded in the house of his friends, and the Church is mourning over the lost reputations of its fallen members (Luke 17:1).
II. THE GROUNDS OF HIS CONFIDENCE FOR THE FUTURE. The fallen Christian looks forward to rising again. He anticipates a new day when the Sun of Righteousness shall again rise on him. He speaks boldly (ver. 8). This is either the grossest presumption or the noblest faith. It is like Samson's boast, "I will go out as at other times;" or like David's trustful anticipation, "Then will I teach transgressors thy ways," etc. That these words are no vain vaunting we learn from the grounds of his confidence.
1. He resolves quietly to endure God's chastening strokes. Such submission is one sign of genuine repentance. Illust.: The Jews in captivity (Leviticus 26:40-42, "and they then accept, the punishment of their iniquity; then will I remember my covenant, etc.); Eli (1 Samuel 3:18); David, all through his long chastisement (see e.g, 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 15:25, 26; 2 Samuel 16:11; cf. Job 34:81; Lamentations 3:39; Hebrews 12:5-7).
2. He puts his trust entirely is God. He has just before (ver. 7) spoken of himself as shut up to God. Again he returns to him and repeatedly expresses his faith, "The Lord shall be a Light unto me: he shall plead my cause: he will bring me forth to the light." His godly sorrow and cheerful submission are signs that there is a mystic film, a spiritual cord that binds him, even in his fallen state, to his Father-God And he has promises to plead (Psalm 37:24; Proverbs 24:16). Illust.: Jonah (Jonah 2:3, 4), St. Paul (Romans 7:24, 25). Grievous as are the sins of God's adopted children, they are provided for: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin" - if any one of you little children sin, grievous and aggravated as your sin may be - "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the Propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1, 2). God vindicates such a penitent. He restores his soul. He renews his peace. He re-establishes his tarnished reputation. He puts a new song in his mouth (Psalm 40:1-3; Isaiah 12:1, 2; Isaiah 57:18, 19). - E.S.P.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fail, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto meI. THE REJOICING FOE. At the moment of conversion, the soul enters upon a conflict which continues until his dying day. The bugle that calls him to peace with God, calls him also to battle. Over and above the conflicts arising from his own evil heart, and the temptations of a godless world, the saint has in Satan a sworn foe. Let me beseech you to remember that in Satan you have a personal living foe. In order to form some idea of the foe we have to fight, look at the names given to him in Scripture. These best reveal his character. Apoliyon, the destroyer. Satan, the accuser. The Devil, or murderer. He comes at unawares. He assaults our weakest part.
II. THE REJOICING FOE REBUKED. In our text there is no attempt to deny the fact of the fall, or excuse its guilt. Whence does the fallen Christian obtain his comfort, if it be not in ignoring the past? He rejoices in the thought of restoration. The future is his reservoir of gladness. I shall arise, he says, a wiser man; a more watchful man; a humbler man. God's true saints shall be raised from the ground, however hard their fall. Next to the salvation of the sinner, the recovery of the saint brings glory to our Lord.
(A. G. Brown.)I. THE CONFLICT SUPPOSED. The language is very strong; the figurative terms employed suggest their own images; it is a sad but not a desperate case; there is hope in the Lord concerning this thing; but, meanwhile, there is a conflict going on which puts to the proof the strength and courage of Micah. We are here meditating upon the mental warfare that went on in the battlefield of a prophet's heart. That which belonged to him is common to us all — not always, but at certain times. Some Christians make this mistake; they seem to expect that because they are Christians they shall be exempt from the temptations and evil inclinations of other men.
II. THE SOURCES OF THIS SPIRITUAL CONFLICT. We want nothing but the history of our heart to explain this. The sources of this conflict of thought and feeling are threefold, — the world, the devil, and death.
III. THY FREQUENT ANTICIPATION OF DEATH, WHICH IS A SOURCE OF PERPETUAL CONFLICT TO MANY. The fear of death is natural; it is probably a principle implanted from above, to prevent man from rushing unbidden into the presence of God. And to this fear the believer is liable, even as the unbeliever.
(W. G. Barrett.)
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