Shedding some Light on the Subject

Here are some interesting facts about “light” that you may or may not know. Thomas Edison was the creator of the incandescent light bulb back in 1879. The Aurora borealis (Northern lights) are created by gaseous particles colliding in the earth’s atmosphere. According to Star Wars fandom website “Wookiepedia” the official weapon of the Jedi Knight was a retractable “lightsaber”. 

James, in his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel who are scattered (Christian Jews living outside of Palestine) describes God as the “Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. (James 1:17)

James is drawing our attention back to the creation story in Genesis where God himself created light. He makes this reference to remind us of the absolute power and authority that are a part of his character.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

In every day of our lives, we experience the change in light during the day, from dark to light in the morning back to dark in the evening. There is a predictable variability in the light of day and even the light of the nighttime sky. 

The words that follow this beautiful reminder of who our God is opens the door to a deeper understanding of his character. The words James uses in the second half of this verse speak to the “change” or variability of the shifting shadows of light in the world to draw a contrasting image to the truth that God himself does not change. 

This truth that God does not change is not easy to comprehend as we live in a world of perpetual change. Think back 100 years, or even 20 years and consider all that has changed in our world. The undeniable changes in technology, law, society, culture, and environment all influence the way we live our lives every day. It seems that there is no constant stream of truth left in life that cannot be challenged by way of change through human effort.

Scripture is clear that God is the one constant in life that is unchanging. James highlights that here, the psalmists’ words remind us that God remains the same, and that his years will never end (Ps 102:27). Centuries later in his concluding remarks the writer of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Our God who created the light of day, who led his people out of the shadow of slavery into the light of the promise land, is the same God who provides for us complete forgiveness of our sins through the life, death, and resurrection of his son on the cross. 

Changes in life are inevitable, constant, and speak to both good and evil. The truth of unchangeableness as seen in God’s character should inspire and deepen the faith of those who hope and trust in him. The lights of this world change and vary, but the one who created them never changes.

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