Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)
A short little verse, but a wonderful promise from God. The upright are protected by God and light comes for them in times that appear dark to others. John wrote: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 2 ESV). Our lives in general are not to be more prosperous than our souls are rich with the knowledge of God. The first and greatest secret to all prosperity – whether it is in health, friendship, success in our career, or our possessions – is the spiritual progress of our soul.
The greatest test of the health of our soul is how we endure darkness. The darkest time of the night is just before dawn, and often in our lives God entrusts into our hands dark times. We may feel friendless, lonely, without resources, weak, and fatigued, but the Lord is on our side and He will send His light at the right time. It is our job in such moments to patiently wait for Him and to continue to act in an upright way.
To be upright means to walk the way of the Lord, to be continually conscious of Him, to do what is right in all circumstances, to treat others rightly according to the commands of God, and to trust in the Lord. Trust is found not only in what we do but in what we do not do. The upright does not panic, does not waste resources, does not get ahead of God, rather he submits all things to God in prayer.
His relations with others is characterized by graciousness, mercy, and righteousness. Rudeness is not part of his nature. He acts with kindness towards others, and fairness. He is considerate of the difficulties that others face and is concerned about them. Compassion is what he feels – feeling what they feel and wanting to help them. He prefers to help the weak than to be seen among the strong.
So the upright man does not live in fear. The upright is a light of encouragement and strength to those who are troubled. He says in the midst of the storm, “Never fear. ‘The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge’ (Psalm 46:7).” He lives in the light of the compassion and faithfulness of God, and considers God the chief reality of the universe, and everything else mere shadows without substance.
Matthew Henry wrote:
They shall have comfort in affliction … Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. It is here implied that good men may be in affliction; the promise does not exempt them from that. They shall have their share in the common calamities of human life; but, when they sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to them, Mic. 7:8. They shall be supported and comforted under their troubles; their spirits shall be lightsome when their outward condition is clouded. Sat lucis intus—There is light enough within. During the Egyptian darkness the Israelites had light in their dwellings. They shall be in due time, and perhaps when they least expect it, delivered out of their troubles; when the night is darkest the day dawns; nay, at evening-time, when night was looked for, it shall be light.
Faith alone provides some light, but faith can never be light by itself. Faith by itself is merely us thinking positively. Faith must believe in One greater than us, and biblical faith believes in God. It is not merely a positive, forward looking attitude that guards us from worry. It is God Himself, and He is in finitely more than our thoughts alone.