We have just resumed our series on the Old Testament books of 1 & 2 Kings during our morning Lord’s Day services.  Picking up after the ministry of Elisha, things go from bad to worse.  The glory fades and darkness drowns the light.  But Jonathan Edwards poignantly observes the greater significance in greater story:

The declining of the glory of this legal dispensation made way for the introducing the more glorious dispensation of the gospel. The declining of the glory of the legal dispensation was to make way for the introducing of the evangelical dispensation that was so much more glorious, so that the legal dispensation had no glory in comparison of it. The glory of the ancient dispensation such as was in Solomon’s time, consisting so much in external glory, was but a childish glory in comparison of the spiritual glory of the dispensation introduced by Christ. The church under the Old Testament was a child under tutors and governors, and God dealt with it as a child. Those pompous externals are called by the Apostle, ‘weak and beggarly elements.’  It was fit that those things should be diminished as Christ approached, as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, speaking of Christ, says, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease,’ John 3:30. ‘Tis fit that the twinkling stars should gradually withdraw their glory when the sun is approaching towards his rising.

As with Israel and Judah of old, so the night now closes on the West.  But whatever may be the particulars in God’s hidden plan, we are assured that light will break forth again – only infinitely greater than before.  “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him” (Psa. 72:8-11).