4:18 Spiritual Dawn

Sunrise in space, NASA photo.

Sunrise in space, NASA photo.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

I once observed a dawn from an airliner 25,000 feet above the sea. The sky grew grey in the east and then an orange arc appeared between the grey sky and the black ocean, tracing the horizon as far as the eye could see. Soon the wrinkled water gleamed, and before long everything shone with a fiery glare.

In literature and in history, dawn is a powerful metaphor. Homer makes “her” a goddess with rosy fingers. Columbus anxiously peers through the darkness, awaiting the dawn which will decide if he and his men turn back, the new world undiscovered. The men of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings wait for a dawn that may bring the final battle for Middle Earth; Mr. Vane, longing for the sun as he attempts to revive a mysterious woman he has found in a field in George MacDonald’s Lilith, says, “Beneath the sad, slow-setting moon, I lay with the dead, and watched for the dawn.”

Solomon employs dawn as a metaphor for the life of a child of God. The image finds its fullest expression in the New Testament. When Christ, the Light of the World, shines upon the spiritual sleeper, a spiritual dawn begins. The sleeper awakens from the dead (Ephesians 5:14). As a child of God, made righteous by Christ (who is our righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30), he awaits the full daylight, not certain what it will bring, but knowing that “when He is revealed we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2).

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