Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and…
I. AN EXHORTATION. What is meant by giving glory to God? To ascribe glory to His name, to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to show forth His glory, to confess Him before men, not only with our lips but in our lives, to believe on Him, to fear Him, to put our whole trust in Him, to call upon Him, to honour His holy Name and His Word, and to serve Him truly all the days of our life. But all these can be traced to two fountains.
1. By faith in Christ we glorify God.
(1) It is His gift, and God is glorified in His gifts.
(2) It is "the substance of things hoped for," brought home to the believer's mind; and these being things of glory beyond the veil, God is glorified by their manifestation.
(3) It is "the evidence of things not seen, and thus brings glory to God, because it takes God at His word, and "sets to its seal that God is true," and glorifies Him in His truth.
(4) Through it we are saved; it opens a window in the soul's dark dungeon, and lets in the glories of a crucified and an exalted Saviour; it opens a fountain of newborn hope in the mind, and that fountain is "Christ in us the hope of glory"; it brings back God's image, and restores in Christ what we lost in Adam. It is a lowly faith, and thus brings glory to God. It is a living faith; it comes from a living root, even the "root and the offspring of David." It is a loving faith. It is a working faith. It is a watching and a waiting faith — it watches for the coming of the Lord — it watches and "waits more than they that watch for the morning."
2. By repentance we glorify, or bring glory to God. The evidence or characteristic mark of this true repentance is holiness; we give glory to God by a holy spirit, — "Glorify Him," says the apostle, "in your bodies and spirits, which are His." We give glory to God by a holy life — "Let your light so shine before men," etc. We give glory to God by holy lips, for the Spirit, speaking by the Psalmist, says, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me."
II. THE MOTIVE. God never positively causes darkness, for He is not the author of evil — He does so negatively. The clouds and mists ascending from the earth obscure the light of the sun's beams from our sight, nevertheless, far above those mists and shadows, though invisible to us, that glorious orb is shining as undimmed and unbroken as before. Thus it is with God and His sinful people — our iniquities go up as a thick mist from the face of the earth, and our transgressions as a thick cloud, and separate between us and our God. What then is this darkness?
1. There is a spiritual darkness in man's soul — of despair.
2. There is a mental darkness caused by disease of the body affecting and effacing the mind.
3. There is a mortal darkness — the darkness of death. To a believer death has no sting, for Christ has plucked it away — to a believer death has no gloom, for Christ has passed through its dark vaults and left a track of light behind Him; but who can paint the darkness that settles round the deathbed of an ignorant or unbelieving sinner, who dies knowing nothing, fearing nothing, hoping nothing!
4. There is an immortal darkness — the darkness of hell.
(R. S. Brooke, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
WEB: Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it gross darkness.