Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

When darkness surrounds, God’s promises keep us hoping.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
December 28, 2003

We have noted what it cost Mary, the mother of our Lord, becoming pregnant before she was married and having to face the cost associated with out-of-wedlock pregnancy in that very strict culture.

Christmas also cost Joseph his business and separation from his family and friends.

It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the baby Jesus.

It cost Zacharias, the father of the baptist, a physical problem of becoming mute because of not having faith in the promises of God concerning his son.

GEN 15:12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.

What the sunset is to many of us, the closing of the Old Testament Scriptures was to the ancient Hebrews.

Curse – cherem = something abandoned, doomed, or appointed to destruction.

ISA 9:2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.

JER 6:14 And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, “Peace, peace,” But there is no peace.

Rebellion is one thing, but apathy is worse.

There will be this enormous gap of silence called the silent years, the intertestament period between Malachi and Matthew.

Between the prophets and the words spoken to Zacharias the priest, there would be four hundred years of silence.

The sun will rise, and before the sun rose the prophet appeared on the scene.

The Messiah would be the sun, the baptizer would be His forerunner.

1. When darkness surrounds us, God’s promises keep us hoping.

2. When times get hard and relief does not seem to come when darkness surrounds us.

When darkness surrounds, God’s promises keep us hoping.

ISA 26:3 The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in Thee.

ISA 40:31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up {with} wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

3. When relief comes God’s praises fills our mouth.

Learn a lesson from Zacharias, who, when the discipline ended, did not have one word of blame, he pointed toward no one but himself.

When discipline ends, God’s praise fills our mouths.

When growth occurs, God’s solitude strengthens our souls.

You cannot become a man or woman of God without solitude.

We become weak by our continual contact with others.

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