And the first thought of the morning is . . . What is that beeping sound? Wait a second. . . . The second thought is . . . Oh yeah, I was asleep and that’s my alarm. Just like every morning. And now that you’re awake and clearheaded, you arrive at your third thought: Already?! Let me find that snooze button.
I have been told that there are two kinds of people in this world: First, there are morning people. Second, there are people who hate morning people. Perhaps your first thought of the morning is something like, “Yes! Another day to praise the Lord and enjoy His bounty!” If so, then great!
But there are quite a few of us who don’t get our first pleasant thoughts until our third cup of coffee. People like us need what I’m about to share.
Do you remember the phrase “the dawn’s early light”? It’s from the “Star Spangled Banner,” the US national anthem. During the War of 1812, the Americans had made it through a night of relentless bombing. And when they awoke, what did they see? “The flag was still there.” The first light of morning showed them that the flag was still standing. What a relief!
“The first light of morning showed them that the flag was still standing. What a relief!”
In Luke 1:78, Zechariah talks about the dawn in a similar way. Zechariah is the brand new father of Baby John (who would become “John the Baptist”), and he is rejoicing in relief over what he calls the “dawn from on high.” What is the “dawn from on high”?
Here’s what Zechariah says:
“Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death.” (Luke 1:78-79)
From the context, we realize that the “dawn from on high” is talking about Someone we know well: the “dawn” is Jesus. It’s the same as Isaiah had prophesied: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them the light has shone. . . . For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:2, 6). Isaiah’s prophesy came to pass because God keeps His promises.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them the light has shone.”
Jesus is the dawn who awakened a 400-year-long night. There had been no prophetic word from God since Malachi, some 400 years before. We sing “Silent Night,” but it was more accurately a glorious morning.
Every day, you get to wake up to a message from God called “dawn.” The message goes like this: God keeps His promises.
You can have rough nights. You can even experience decades-long nights, and civilizations can experience centuries-long nights. But morning always comes.
The Hebrews waited for the Messiah to come for millennia. And Jesus came. After his death, Jesus’ disciples experienced a terrifying Friday followed by a depressing Saturday. But by dawn on Sunday, Jesus was back. You too will face dark times as you wait on the Lord. But as surely as the dawn, Jesus will return.
“You too will face dark times as you wait on the Lord. But as surely as the dawn, Jesus will return.”
So, here’s where you come to a choice. You will wake up tomorrow morning. Maybe multiple times. When you awake, you could treat the dawn with contempt.
Or you can join me in renewing our mornings. How? I invite you to renew your mornings by seeing the dawn as a picture of God’s faithfulness. Together, let’s greet tomorrow’s dawn with this prayer: “Lord, thank You for keeping Your promises.”