Light at evening time
“It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7
God very frequently acts in grace in such a manner that we can find a parallel in nature. For instance, God says, “… as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, … so shall my word be, …it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” We find him speaking concerning the coming of Christ, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.” We find him likening the covenant of grace to the covenant which he made with Noah concerning the seasons, and with man concerning the different revolutions of the year—“Seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” We find that the works of creation are very frequently the mirror of the works of grace, and that we can draw figures from the world of nature to illustrate the great acts of God in the world of his grace towards his people. But sometimes God oversteps nature. In nature after evening comes night. The sun has had its hours of journeying; the fiery steeds are weary; they must rest. Lo, they descend the azure steeps and plunge their burning fetlocks in the western sea, while night in her dark chariot follows at their heels. God, however, oversteps the rule of nature. He is pleased to send to his people times when the eye of reason expects to see no more day, but fears that the glorious landscape of God’s mercies will be shrouded in the darkness of his forgetfulness. But instead, God overleaps nature, and declares that at evening time, instead of darkness there shall be light.
For meditation: The text has only ever been true on one occasion in a physical sense (Joshua 10:12-14), but God, to whom even the darkness is light (Psalm 139:12), is always repeating the event spiritually in the lives of his people.
Sermon no. 160 25 October (1857)
‘Whereas the Lord was there.’ Ezekiel 35:10
Suggested Further Reading: Jeremiah 17:5–13
Old Adam has given you many a grip in the side, as though he would tear the heart out of you, but you have held on your way despite all that he could do. How is this? Why, God was in you, and if he had not been there, then indeed you would have been a prey unto your adversaries. I went last week into the lighthouse at Holyhead and marked the lights that warn the mariner crossing the sea, or guide him in time of storm into the haven. I noticed in the second storey of the lighthouse many large vats filled with oil laid up in store that the lamps might be constantly trimmed for months to come, and I compared that in my own mind to that gracious provision of divine grace which the Lord lays up in store for his people. The lamps would go out but Jehovah-shammah, the Lord is there—we have the all-sufficiency of God laying up a store of oil, that our lights may be always trimmed. A Christian is something like an express train. On some of our railroads you know there are express trains which do not stop to take water; the water lies in a trench in the middle between the rails, and as the train runs it sucks up its own supply of cold water, and so continues its course without a pause. Our God in grace has forestalled our needs; he prepares supplies for his own people, so that without their stopping to seek the streams of creature confidence, sometimes without the use of means, he is pleased to speed them on their pathway towards heaven, fed by a divine arrangement of grace. O it is blessed to think that if God be there, everything a Christian can want for his final persevering, for his eternal life, is ready at hand.
For meditation: The Lord was there with his people in the wilderness and sustained them for forty years (Nehemiah 9:19–21). He can still meet every need that his people face today (Philippians 4:19). Paul had proved that God’s grace and strength were sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13).
Sermon no. 536 25 October (1863)
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