David’s joyful dawn
In Psalm 30 David celebrates God’s deliverance from a serious bout of illness at the time when he was also threatened by foes (30:1-3). In publishing the lyrics he invites other godly folks to join in his song of praise to the Lord because:
‘. . . his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night but joy comes with the morning!’ (30:5).
[All quotations are from the New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated.]
But why did David mention God’s anger when he had already said his troubles had been caused by ‘my enemies’? Because, regretfully, he had boasted during his phase of earlier successes, ‘Nothing can stop me now!’ But how ‘shattered’ he had then felt when ‘you turned away from me’ (30:6-7). Humiliating defeats had caused him to humble himself so that he ‘begged the Lord for mercy’ (30:8-10). Consequently, his ‘mourning’ was ‘turned . . . into joyful dancing’, and ‘praises’ and ‘thanks’ to God in song (30:11-12).
John the Baptist’s father foresees a new dawn for Israel
Luke was the only Gospel writer who unearthed the Spirit-filled prophecy of Zechariah that the old priest had uttered at the celebration of his baby boy John’s circumcision (see Luke 1:57-79). He foretold that the Saviour, descended from David’s royal lineage, was about to save God’s people from their enemies (1:69-70), as promised to their ancestor Abraham (1:71-75). ‘And you, my little son . . . will prepare the way for the Lord’ by his ministry of preaching and baptising as ‘the prophet of the Most High . . . You will tell his people how to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins’ (1:76-77). The radiant climax of the old father’s announcement promised an imminent new dawn:
‘Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace’ (1:78-79).
However, Jesus’ few years of public ministry ended in a veritable ‘night of weeping’, as he offered ‘prayers … with a loud cry and tears’ of agony in Gethsemane (see Hebrews 5:7) when preparing himself for the up-coming hellish period that would include three intensely dark hours during daytime at Calvary!
A new dawn for the nations when Jesus rose from the dead
All four Gospels relate the disciples’ surprise discovery of Jesus bodily resurrection at dawn. John says that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb ‘Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark’ (20:1). Matthew adds that ‘as the new day was dawning’ an angel of the Lord had ‘rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightening, and his clothing was as white as snow’ (Matthew 28:1-3; compare Mark 16:2, 5; Luke 24:4).
Why old Simon Peter was so sure of the ultimate dawn of ‘The Day’ for the universe
When Peter became aware that: ‘I must soon leave this earthly life’ (2 Peter 1:14), he realised that for his readers it would be, figuratively and even literally, ‘a night of weeping’. So he reminds them of ‘the message proclaimed by the prophets’; their ‘words [were] like a lamp shining in a dark place – until the Day dawns and Christ the Morning Star shines in our hearts’ (1:19). He was so very sure, knowing that ‘we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’, because he was recalling the occasion when ‘We saw his majestic splendour with our own eyes when he received honour and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain’ – when their Lord was transfigured. That experience gave the apostles ‘greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets’ in the Old Testament Scriptures (1:16-21).
- ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!’ (Revelation 22:20).