Let’s focus on Exodus 20:21. In the story of Moses, the Word locates God in thick darkness:
The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
God in “thick darkness” is a rather jarring concept. 4th Century Gregory of Nyssa pondered this verse in his book, The Life of Moses.
The bishop explains that just because we are Children of the Light does not mean we fully comprehend the Light (God). Because of human nature, to fully comprehend God would make us profoundly arrogant.
Though we (Christians) walk in the light, similarly to Moses we discover parts of the mystery of God in “thick darkness.” Such incomprehensibility brings us to our knees in search of God’s fullness.
Bishop Gregory points out that in Exodus 3, Moses first meets God in the light of a burning bush. Later, Moses draws near to God “in the thick darkness” in Exodus 20.
What a profound contrasting imagery to ponder at the start of our week!
Do we live as if we understand God fully because we saw God in the past? Or, do we continue to seek God’s incomprehensibility with humility, realizing that there is more of God we need to know?
Gregory of Nyssa says,
For leaving behind everything that is observed, not only what sense comprehends but also what the intelligence thinks it sees, it keeps on penetrating deeper until by the intelligence’s yearning for understanding it gains access to the invisible and the incomprehensible, and there it sees God.
You may be a faithful church-goer, a highly educated in godly matters, a minister of the gospel; you may know the Bible from cover to cover. Yet, with Moses, let us draw “near to the thick darkness” where God is.
In other words, let God reveal something when our vision is obscured. May God grant us an “inner knowing” when our eyes cannot see fully.
While there is no darkness in God, God shows up in our darkness. He reveals Himself as we submit to a new way and a new place to see Him.
Dear Lord, in our darkness, “open the eyes of our hearts; we want to see You.” Amen!
Because of Jesus Christ,