The big event of this week is the solar eclipse which is to occur on Monday, August 21. During this time the orbits of the earth, sun and moon will coincide to allow most of the residents of the United States to view a total or near total eclipse of the sun. During this eclipse the moon will slide between the sun and the earth and totally block the sun for 2-3 minutes. This is referred to as totality, when the sun’s light is blocked from reaching the earth.
The effect of totality creates a period of darkness on the earth and the temperature drops. It is a period of night even in the midst of the day. It is a rare physical phenomenon and will draw the attention of almost everyone near it when it occurs. People from all over the world will take note of it, even if they do not see it.
Solar eclipses occur approximately every 18 months (space.com Total Solar Eclipses: How Often Do They Occur (and Why)?). The orbits of the moon, sun and earth vary enough that the location of the eclipses move across the face of the earth over the years. This means that for any particular place on earth, a total solar eclipse is rarely seen.
There is an eclipse phenomenon which is tragically common. Spiritual eclipses occur millions and, perhaps, billions of times every day. A spiritual eclipse is when a human being refuses the light of God.
God is presented in scripture as a being of light. A few examples follow.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7).
There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us (Psalms 4:6 KJV).
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2)Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain (Psalm 104:1-2 KJV).
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17 KJV)
The Apostle John records that John the Baptist was not the Light, but was a witness of the true Light who is Jesus Christ (John 1:8-9). Jesus testified that he was the light of the world and that light was the light of life:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12 KJV. http://www.scripturetoolbox.com/html/kjv/John/8.html#12).
The sun is the light of the earth. It makes life on earth possible. Deny a green, growing and healthy plant access to the sun for several days and the plant will die. Human life is dependent on the sun for its warmth, its support of the plant and animal life and much more. Turn off the sun and life would cease on the earth.
The physical picture is easy to understand. We have seen examples on a small scale, for example, when a tent is set up in a grass field for several days. When the tent is struck, the grass beneath is yellow and withered. This is a prolonged total tent eclipse.
Spiritually, the same thing happens, but we have difficulty perceiving it. Nevertheless, it is as real as covering a patch of grass for several days. In this life, the mortal aspect of life, our bodies, appears to be the predominant part of our being. It is visible, the signs of its welfare are readily apparent (hunger, pain, weakness or strength). We also know that life is more than the body.
There are aspects of the life we live, our personality, dreams, joys and disappointments that extend beyond the physical realm. Every person knows these things, but not everyone acknowledges that they represent a spiritual nature.
Christians believe these aspects of human life are the result of the Creator God endowing humanity (male and female) with the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). As a part of image of God creation, a part of the divine life resides in us to animate the mortal shell and enable us to love purely, dream, sacrifice, create and learn. This is described in Genesis 2:
And I, the LORD God, formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).
The spiritual nature of humanity needs sustenance as surely as the physical body requires it. This is received by the ministry of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. God uses many means to grant the spirit in man the essentials to allow it to mature and grow until it achieves the fullness of the stature of Christ.
God has provided revelation of himself and of what is best for men and women. The scriptures are just such revelations. He has provided the Holy Spirit to guide people into all truth. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to make a way for us to find eternal life in God. There are ministers and other persons to share light and truth with others. God has provided prayer. He has allowed nature to testify of his glory and magnificence, like the solar eclipse or mountains, or the wonders of the human body and the precision of natural laws of science.
All of these things, and these are just a few examples, are designed to support life and declare the majesty of God. All of them, understood in this manner draw people to seek God.
God who is light, is shining the light of life all around us and yet many refuse to see. This refusal is like an eclipse because we erect some barrier to prevent the light of God from reaching our hearts. It may be ignorance, i.e., one may not know to look for God or has been taught to ignore such leadings. It may be tradition which says, “That is not how we do it where I come from.” It may be the doctrine of a man or organization. It can be science, as it is called today, saying that cannot be so. Sometimes it can be religion. It can be an open act of rebellion against God in defiant pride, “I will not see that!”
Regardless of the reason, every time a human blocks the light of God from coming in and ministering light and truth to them, it is a spiritual eclipse. That person has chosen to prefer the darkness rather than the light. Spiritually, that means to choose death rather than life. It is not a mere physical event to be observed or to be measured, a spiritual eclipse is a rejection of life.
During the eclipse of August 21, consider what it would be like if the rest of your life was like living under the totality of a solar eclipse. If you are reading this after the event, you can still do this exercise. Everything would change. Colors, temperature, weather, crop growth and much more would be forever different. If you are rejecting the light of Christ, you are spiritually living in darkness already.
Removing the barriers of unbelief, tradition, rebellion and sin and allowing the light of Truth or the light of Christ into your life is called faith and repentance. Believe that the light is good and for your benefit and tear down the barriers that safe guard darkness in your mind, heart and soul.
For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness (Psalms 18:28 KJV).
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple (Psalm 119:130).
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light (Psalm 36:9 KJV).
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20 KJV)!
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined (Isaiah 9:2 KJV).