The Brilliance of Scripture: When the Backdrop is Dark, it Makes the Promises All the More Beautiful

woman wearing knitted sweater besides green plants
Photo by Fernando Ramirez Poveda on

One of the literary devices that you see often in the Bible is that of contrast. That is, when two very different things are placed along side of each other, such as light versus darkness, life versus death, small versus big, integrity versus corruption, or grace versus performance. Look for it and you will notice it often. Why?

Because contrast gets our attention.

Contrast accentuates good things by putting them against a dark backdrop, so that they “pop,” if you will, like a star against a pitch-black night or bright eyes on a person with dark skin.

I never noticed before that David was using contrast when he posted Psalm 12. To highlight the beauty of God’s eternal Word, David first paints a realistic, yet dark background of ungodliness and lies. This is how he described the culture in which he lived:

1 Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!
The faithful have vanished from the earth!
2 Neighbors lie to each other,
speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.

It was bad. Violence, hatred, lying, and malice everywhere he turned. Sound familiar? Or maybe David was just exaggerating because he was having a bad day? Maybe a little, or maybe not.

Nevertheless, it was against that dark backdrop that David introduced something else into the picture, something wonderfully and wildly different.

The Lord’s words are absolutely reliable.
They are as untainted as silver purified in a furnace on the ground,
where it is thoroughly refined. Psalm 12:6 (NET Bible)

The contrast is this: the brokenness of humanity versus the absolute goodness and dependability of God and His Word. If the world is like an intense, swirling cauldron of circumstances, the Word of God is like silver. The more extreme the cauldron gets, the purer and more brilliant the Word becomes.

Are you needing a break from the same-old, same-old of the world? Tired of the perpetual stream of bad news? Does your heart need something real, hopeful, and unchanging? It is available. We call it, the Bible. There you will find answers. There you will find direction and meaning. There you will find good news. There you will find Jesus.

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.


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