The Dawn Of A New Day

Judges 6:11, “Then the angel of the Lord came…”

Sunrise. Sunset. Most of us have a hard time telling the two apart. Look at the picture for example. I’m gonna say… sunrise. But who really knows other than the woman in the photo and whoever it was that took the picture? It could be sunset for all we know. It’s quite possible. I guess there is a sense in which our state of mind at the moment also has a large influence on our perspective. Depressed? Struggling with a difficult situation? Feeling confused or fearful? Then, you are probably more likely to see a sunset. Hopeful? Expectant? Joyful? During those times we are much more inclined to see sunrises.

The real issue (particularly as it relates to this note) is that we Christians are often guilty of confusing the beginning with the ending. Because of our limited knowledge, our lack of wisdom, and our inability to see around the corner we often lose perspective. We look at our current situation or circumstances and our hearts are filled with worry, despair and defeat. We can’t imagine a day when things will ever be better or at the very least just different. We think that the problem will last forever, the pain will never end, and the promises have long been forfeited or forgotten. Our heart and mind tells us that it is over, too late, too far gone for God to do anything now. And so we give in, give up, and quit. The problem? We see only an ending. But God declares that it is just the beginning. For years I have told people this amazing Biblical truth… Jesus ALWAYS saves the best for last!!! Don’t believe me? Just think about the following stories:

  • Joseph. Betrayed by his brothers. Sold into slavery. Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. For almost a decade he languished away in an Egyptian prison wondering if he would ever again see the light of day. For Joseph, everything that had happened to him declared, “sunset.” But then… Pharaoh had a dream and in less than a day Joseph had left the prison to inherit the position as the second most powerful man in the world. For Joseph, “sunrise” had come.
  • Moses. At the age of 40 he had a spiritual awakening and began to recognize the plight of his people. In a moment of self-reliance and anger he murdered a man. Fleeing for his life he spent the next 40 years stratching out a living on the backside of the desert. For Moses, every new morning must have reminded him of lost opportunities and a forfeited future. For Moses, it was “sunset.” But then… he saw a burning bush, heard the voice of God, and stepped out of the shame of his past to embrace the divine calling. For Moses, “sunrise” had come.
  • David. The boy who had been anointed king. The boy who had slain the giant and delivered the nation. Son-in-law to the king. Captain of the armies of Israel. Life could not have looked more promising. But the jealousy and pride of a deranged king would drive him into hiding. For 10 years David ran for his life, hiding in caves and seeking refuge amongst the enemies of God’s people. In 1 Samuel 30 he returns home from battle to find his city burned to the ground and his family taken hostage. The men who had so faithfully followed him decide to kill him in their anger. For David, the situation screamed “sunset.” But then… David encouraged himself in the Lord. Rather than giving up and giving in he went forward. The families were rescued and King Saul committed suicide. Before David had time to take it all in he found himself being crowned the new king of Israel. For David, “sunrise” had come.

Neither time nor space allows me to recount all of the marvelous stories of God’s gracious interventions throughout the Bible. Without fail, when all hope seemed lost, when the darkness of night seemed like it would never lift… sunrise came. God came. The broken were made whole. The sick were healed. The bound were delivered. The destitute were uplifted. The lost were saved. The story of Gideon does not end in verse 10 of chapter 6. God does not simply point out the people’s sin and then retreat, leaving them to fend for themselves against their own frailties and the enemies’ oppression. No!!! The story is just starting!!! The first 10 verses are simply the prelude, the opening act to the tale of triumph that was about to unfold. For Israel, their devastation declared “sunset” but with the introduction of verse 11 God Himself declares “sunrise.” What they thought was the end was just the beginning. When they were ready to change the channel and close the book God showed up and transformed the outcome. When they had no reason to expect anything God came and gave them everything. God came to their rescue.

My prayer is that God will give each of us divine perspective. If we are still alive, if there is still breath in our lungs, then it’s not over. Don’t allow your present circumstances to leave you confused. I know that life can be hard. I know life can be difficult. But don’t confuse the beginning with the ending. God will never leave you nor abandon you. Through every season and in every storm He remains faithful. And no matter what you are facing, know this… God is not finished. He saves the best for last and He will have the final word in your life. It’s not sunset, my friend. No. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Take heart and look again. God is coming to your help and He brings with Him the dawn of a new day in your life. No, it’s not sunset. It’s sunrise!!!