I am somewhat scared of the dark. I have been for most of my life. When I was a little kid, I remember leaving a lamp on in my room and my Dad would tip toe into my room after I went to sleep to turn it off. That was how I found comfort in the darkness.
I was thinking about that experience as I walked my way through a series of tunnels (in the dark) beneath the “City of David” section of Jerusalem, just outside the Old City’s walls. Before there was a Temple Mount or the Pools of Bethesda or the Beautiful Gate, there was a mighty Jebusite fortress found clinging to the side of Mount Moriah protecting a small village. This fortress had proven to be nearly impossible to take. While the Israelites had advanced over much of the territory in their conquest of the land, the Jebusite city still stood in the hands of the Canaanites.
As a boy, David tended sheep in the fields surrounding the little town of Bethlehem. As he tended those sheep, no doubt he looked up at the mighty Jebusite fortress standing in mockery of the Jewish conquest. The Jebusite town was strategic, both for its location (virtually in the center of the Promised Land) and its natural resources (protection by the surrounding hills and access to a fresh water source.) Because of this, I am sure David dreamed of Israel one day possessing this stronghold.
Once David became King, he led his army in an attack on the Jebusites in order to take the mighty fortress. Because of its strong fortifications, the Jebusites were not worried about David’s attack. As a matter of fact, as David approached, the Jebusites taunted him saying, “You will not come in here but the blind and the lame will ward you off! (2 Samuel 5:6)” The Jebusites looked at the size of their fortress and felt there is no way the Israelites would ever make it inside. David, however, had other plans.
In David’s time walking around the Jebusite city, he noticed the water tunnels built to take the fresh water inside the fortress walls. Rather than attacking the Jebusites head on, David and his men entered the water tunnels in pure darkness and infiltrated the city through their “pipes.” This story is told to us in the balance of 2 Samuel 5. On our visit to Jerusalem, we got to walk in those very water tunnels, and look up the shaft that David’s men would have had to ascend in order to take the city. The shaft was narrow, long, and tall. There was not room for men to walk side by side, but the soldiers would have had to walk one in front of the other into enemy territory. As we visited this point, I could not help but think that these men must have had their hearts nearly beating out of their chests as they made their ascent into the city!
It must have been in that moment of their fear that their Heavenly Father turned on a “lamp” for them to quiet their souls. David and his men indeed won the victory that day, and the Jewish capital would be established in Jerusalem (where the Jebusites had once resided) for the next 1,000 years.
What are you facing right now that is causing you to fear? What must you face (seemingly) alone with no one else by your side? Cancer? Divorce? Death of a loved one? Being put on academic probation? What is it? There are real things in this life that are really scary . . . that really inspire fear in our hearts. Our hope is not in avoiding fearful things. Our hope is in having courage when we have reason to fear. This is only possible when we realize that our Heavenly Father can turn on a light and remind us that we are never alone. The Body of Christ is around us, the Spirit is inside of us, and our Abba is watching over us. Fear not! God can conquer the darkness you are facing as well and give you possession of the city.