Using Light

For Monday, March 3, 2008
Proverbs 29:13

The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.

This may be the case of a debtor meeting with his creditor. Whatever the case, one person has control over the other. The oppressor or creditor "owns" the poor man, who is under his power. It is the prerogative of the oppressor to extend or withhold mercy.

But now comes the reminder. Both men are under the Lord, and it is the Lord who is the Giver, who has the prerogative to extend or withhold mercy. It is the Lord who gives light to the eyes of both. He may cast both into darkness at his whim. Jesus said, "For [God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). In that context, he is instructing us to love our enemies. But it is a further reminder that it is God who controls our fortune.

This proverb reminds the poor man what he does have and in what sense he is as rich as the oppressor. It reminds him of the same advantages he holds. God has also given him light. Indeed, perhaps the poor man would fare better if he made better use of that light insteading of bemoaning what he does not have.

It is a warning to the oppressor, that nothing he possesses is of his own making. God may easily remove his very sight. It is a warning of the misuse of his light. Using light to see how to take advantage of the poor will result ultimately in being cast into the outer darkness. Nor will he be without excuse for not seeing with a right perspective. God has given him light; if he does not see God and God's justice, he has no one but himself to explain.

Whatever our present lot in life, let use that light which is common to all to see our God at work and follow him.