On Rising Early

Dawn breaks, light trickles through tiny fissures in our carefully arranged curtains, and most of us hide our faces lest the day overtake us. Because of our hectic schedules, being overworked and overtired, our sinful pace of life and idolatry of achievement, we fear the morning.

How different the approach of the psalmists, who longed for the coming of the new day—that they might meet anew with God. To him they offered the first thought and the first word: a subtle adjustment in time management, but symptomatic of a radical reorientation in priorities.

Listen to the testimony of scattered saints throughout Israel’s history:

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:147, anonymous)

“But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” (Psalm 88:13, Heman the Ezrahite)

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3, David)

And perhaps more evocatively, David elsewhere describes himself as waking the dawn—having risen so early to offer God prayer and praise:

“Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” (Psalm 57:8)

The psalmists are not alone in their auroral devotion. Even Jesus the Christ rose early to meet with his Father for strength and guidance:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

It would be hubris indeed to think ourselves less in need of daily grace than our Master, in whose footsteps we but follow.

Remember, his mercies never fail: “They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).

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