Jeremiah 26: 5; 32: 33
There are some ten references in Jeremiah to God rising early, each with a different aspect. We have read two of them. It is very affecting to think that God in His care, solicitude and vigilance for His people would rise early to seek their well-being. Psalm 121 goes further, saying, “He that keepeth thee will not slumber”, v 3. How wonderful, that the God who has taken us up for blessing will never slumber in His desire to preserve and keep us. He is “preserver of all men, specially of those that believe”, 1 Tim 4: 10. Whatever God does, He does with care and energy. What energy was expended in bringing the worlds into being. He divided between the light and the darkness, “And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day”, Gen 1: 5. The evening comes first. It seems just to suggest that God was anticipating the morning. It is precious to think of God looking forward anticipatively to that day when the Lord Jesus - He who is the true Light, coming into the world to lighten every man (John 1: 9) - would stand on the earth which He had created. Then there was evening, and there was morning a fourth day when He set the great lights in the expanse of the heavens, “the great light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night”, Gen 1: 15, 16. What holy feelings would be in the heart of God as He looked down on that fourth day as the sun rose to its zenith, anticipating a day when the millennial glory of the Lord Jesus would shine in unrivalled, unchallenged supremacy. Joshua speaks of a day when the sun stood still in the midst of heaven. It “hasted not to go down about a full day”, Josh 10: 13. That might be likened to our day when the light of redemption shines for all, but then the great millennial day will be glorious when “shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings”, Mal 4: 2.
How touching it is that these features were displayed in relation to the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth. It is a wonderful display of love that the Father would rise early, speaking reverently, to open the ears of His Well-beloved. Isaiah says, “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the instructed”, Isa 50: 4. What a blessed manifestation we see of that unique relationship, that the Father would rise early to open the ear of His Son to impart the thought and direction for the day; and He ever dependent, ever in perfect harmony with the Father’s will, the Father’s mind, fully responsive. Then, too, we have these holy expressions of mutual love as He continued His pathway. The Father took no slumber, no sleep on these precious nights of unbroken communion when the Lord Jesus was abroad on the Mount of Olives. But then came that terrible night when the Lord Jesus was captive, betrayed by Judas, and taken first to Annas, then to Caiaphas, and then to Pilate. The Lord Jesus would have no sleep on that awful night. Think of the Father’s eyes looking with holy, unwearied vigilance on that appalling scene when He, who was sin apart, was suffering so cruelly, so violently at the hands of men. But oh, what a wonderful moment is brought out in Mark’s gospel so blessedly, when the Lord Jesus rose from the grave! Mark brings in the touching reference, “And very early on the first day of the week they come to the sepulchre, the sun having risen” (Mark 16:2), but they found the stone rolled away. These bereft souls had risen early to come to the tomb to see a dead Jesus, but the Father had risen even earlier to raise His well-beloved Son by His glory. How affecting it is to contemplate the Father rising early for such a purpose!
This feature was seen in the life of the Lord Jesus down here. It is fine to go through the Gospels and ponder these references when Jesus rose early. In Mark 1, there He was, the sun had gone down and they brought to Him all that were suffering and those possessed by demons. “The whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many … and he cast out many demons, and did not suffer the demons to speak because they knew him”, v 33, 34. Then, after that evening spent in holy, patient service, bringing relief to the helpless, hope to the hopeless, and healing to the sick, it says, “And rising in the morning long before day, he went away out and went away into a desert place, and there prayed”, v 35. These wonderful footsteps of the Lord Jesus provide a Model indeed for each one of us! And then in John 7, what a wonderful day that was, “In the last, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried”, v 37. What energy He expended on that day. The chapter ends, “And every one went to his home”, and chapter 8 begins, “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple”. God as it were rising early, expressed in His blessed Son! How affecting to think of these holy matters.
So Jeremiah has in mind that these precious features should find a response in ourselves. God, as we have read, rose early to send His prophets. The people did not hearken to these overtures, but the desire is that there might be a response in us to the holy endeavours of divine Persons to secure an answer in conformity to God's own blessed thoughts. Many of those in the scriptures whom God has used have had this attitude of rising early. Of course, it does not mean simply getting out of bed early in the morning - that may enter into it! - but it implies an aptitude and a commitment to divine things, which has its reward. Abraham, for example, on that momentous morning when God said, “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah” was immediately responsive to the divine commandment. It says, “And Abraham rose early in the morning”, Gen 22: 1-3. Then Joshua rose early as he left Shittim and came to the Jordan, Josh 3: 1. They were in sympathy with the divine will and responded with alacrity to it.
But in this second scripture, it is affecting to think of God teaching, “though I taught them, rising early and teaching, they hearkened not to receive instruction”. How wonderful it is that the mighty God should condescend to teach His people. Such a disposition found a perfect expression in the Lord Jesus. See Him as He gathered His own and the crowds around Him, teaching them the wonderful things of God. The feature of teaching continues to the present day exemplified in the great body of teaching that has come to us throughout the dispensation. It continues today in order that there might be a commensurate response in the hearts of believers to what God has in mind for us according to His great purposes and desires. There is an interesting reference in Acts 13 where Elymas, the magician, seeks to divert the proconsul from Paul’s teaching. Paul intervenes very decisively, with the outcome that, “Then the proconsul, seeing what had happened, believed, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord”, v 12. That is, the teaching of the Lord was continuing through the ministry of Paul, confirming that the idea of God teaching is maintained in the present dispensation. That is very comforting. So, how fine then it is to open our hearts to the teaching and to be, as Paul exhorted Timothy, “nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which thou hast fully followed up”, 1 Tim 4: 6. We have bookshelves full of books and the great desire would be that we might assimilate the teaching they contain and also, of course, imbibe the teaching which we receive in our gatherings together. As we get older we begin to value these things to a greater degree, and I would encourage young believers to commit themselves to reading just a little bit every day of the great course of instruction and teaching which has come down to us through the labours of devoted men. The Proverbs say in relation to wisdom, “they that seek me early shall find me … and I will fill their treasuries”, Prov 8: 17, 21. How fine if our treasuries can be filled early with these precious thoughts which God has vouchsafed to His church in these present days.
I leave these thought for consideration. I am just affected that God, in His assiduous care and solicitude for His own, should rise early. May He have a response to His early rising. For His Name’s sake.
15th May 2007