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Evening, then Morning

20 Jul

And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light. And God saw the Light, that it was good: and God divided the Light from the darkness. And God called the Light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Gen 1:3-5 (KJV)

Introduction

The first 3 verses of Scripture, as compared to II Corinthians 4:6, are themselves the subject of an entirely separate study, for in the first Acts of Creation Jehovah establishes His template for His work of redemption in the human heart. However, that particular parallel is not the subject of this study. In this analysis, we concern ourselves with the concept of “Evening, then morning.”

A counter-intuitive reversal

The 5th verse of Genesis contains the first mention of the word “morning” in the Holy Scriptures. However, as early as this word appears, its particular mention is preceded by mention of “evening.” I never realized it until I saw it in a video sent me by a friend, but in Creation, and indeed throughout the first chapter of the Scriptures, God chronicled the days as starting from evening and then proceeding to morning. Now, we should pay attention to that. From the beginning of Time on earth, the human experience has been, is, and forever will be about a journey, not from Light to darkness, but from darkness to Light, from death to Resurrection, from sickness to Healing, and ultimately from sin to everlasting Redemption. This journey is what Jehovah primarily concerns Himself with in His dealings with us, His creatures. He alludes to it, as we have seen, in the first three verses of Scripture. If it is possible to think of God as being passionate, then He is passionate about this. Frankly, by the Third Chapter of Genesis, the entire Plan of Redemption has been set out on God’s great canvas.

Likewise, in our primitive dealings with Jehovah as His frail creatures, we must remember this to be the case: that He is primarily concerned about our transition from the evenings of our lives, to our mornings. I do not mean this in a shallow, financial, materialistic way. I mean this primarily as it concerns our souls, and secondarily our health: we come to Him in our nights, and He makes them our mornings; we come to Him in our darknesses, and He floods them with His Light; we come to Him in our moral and our physical sicknesses, and He inundates us with His Healing.

The order of our approach to God

As human beings, who are deeply conscious of our sin, there is a natural desire to want to get clean, and then face God. This is futile. It is futile because it is a morning-then-evening approach. The darkness in our lives necessary precedes the Light, for we are all “shapen in iniquity” (Psalms 51:5). We are personally, intrinsically incapable of the cleansing needed to stand before God. A short while spent merely observing God in His temple in Heaven caused Isaiah, a God-called Prophet, to cry out “Woe is me!” (The exclamation mark is Scriptural, by the way.) What we are forever trying to do in attempting a morning-then-evening approach is impossible, for it is part of our very constitution as humans, part of the very fabric of our nature and makeup, that we are sinful. We are as dirty as mud. And we are as able to free ourselves of our sinful nature by our own agency as we are able to wash the dirt out of a pile of mud. Where you have the mud, there you have the dirt. You throw the dirt away, the mud goes with it. You say: “I’ll let the dirt settle at the bottom.” You walk away, and come back, and somehow the mud has settled with it. You could wait on that mud 50 years and nothing would change. Why? The mud, you see, is dirty. The dirt is in the mud. If you could get the dirt out, it wouldn’t be mud any more. But it is mud, so it is dirty! It can’t be anything else but dirty, because it’s mud. And so it is with us and sin. We are human, and so we are sinful.

Now, the desire to be right and pure and holy is not wrong. It is God-given, and it is what drives us to seek. It is in our methods that we often falter. The first steps in coming to God cannot be puny, frantic attempts at self-cleansing; no. It was God Who spoke the first Light into the pre-existing darkness, and it is God Who must speak the Light into the darknesses of our own lives.

It was while yet in the pig-pen that the prodigal said: “I will arise, and go to my Father.” Darkness. He arrived at his Father’s house with the stench of the swine upon him, and still clad in his filthy, pigherder’s clothes. Darkness. Finally he stood in the august Presence of his Father, with all the tell-tale signs and smells of what he had been doing and the life that he had been living glaringly apparent. Darkness. For “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” But it was his confession of his sins – an agreement with his Father’s assessment of him – that caused his Father to say: “Bring the best robe.” Light. Evening, thus, preceded morning in this instance as well. We need to realize that we are as incapable of clothing ourselves with holiness as that penniless pigherd was of buying a new robe. We are about as worthy of a clean new robe as he was, too. As long as we think this robe is something we have to get before even starting the journey towards our Father, or even standing in His Presence, so long shall we discover by frustrated experience that “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

In like fashion, the publican in the Temple (as contrasted with the Pharisee) shows us that we need not be afraid that our current state is unpalatable to God. In the first, God knows it already (I feel the need to stress again the pressing, present need for present agreement with God about present status). And in the second, to pretend our state is different from what both He and we really know it to be is to be dishonest. Both men went to church. Both men prayed in the same Temple. Both men prayed to the same God. Both men’s prayers were heard. But one was in darkness, and knew himself to be so, whilst the other stood in pretended light:

And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [with God’s approval / absolved from guilt / declared righteous] rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14 (KJV)

Righteousness and cleansing is something freely given by God when we come to Him, shorn of pretence, insensate of any pretensions to righteousness, and with a certain effective helplessness (not equal with a lack of faith) about our ability to cleanse ourselves. We must agree with His assessment of our lives as shown in His Word. We must make an end of struggling to appear presentable before Him.  We must lastly submit to His own intervention. The rest – speaking Light into darkness – is God’s business. After which we shall stand where Paul stood, when he said:

For God, Who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Cor 4:6 (KJV)

God’s attitude about all this

We have seen, above, that Jehovah has concerned Himself with the translation of mere, mortal, ordinary men and women from darkness to Light as per Colossians 1:13 & I Peter 2:9 (to the consternation of men of God in times past per Job 7:17 & Psalms 8:4). You ask: “Is this really for me? How can God want This for me, after all I’ve been to Him and all I’ve done…? I have been too bad and too wicked and too insensate to His call for far too long for me to matter to God.”

Or maybe mentally, you’re looking around and saying: “Surely this was meant for folks like Paul, or Peter and them. But This kind of Thing just doesn’t happen any more.”

Or perhaps you have a bit more faith and can say: “This is meant for Pastor so-and-so in church, Pastors need This kind of Thing. Or so-and-so in that other church, they’re far more deserving than I am. How can I really be the one that all This was meant for?”

Or maybe you’re saying: “Is it God’s will? How can I know God wants it for me? Does God want me to have that that kind of access to His glorious salvation? Is God still interested? “

The Scripture below describes what God’s attitude is to us, and He has never changed it from the day He spoke it to this minute when you are reading it. It is as He Himself stated in His commission to Paul. When God sent Paul to preach the Gospel, these were His aims:

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.

Acts 26:16-18 (KJV)

There are no exceptions in that Commission. He wants it for you. Do you want it, for Him?

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13 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Redemption, Spiritual

 

13 responses to “Evening, then Morning

  1. chepkangai

    July 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    This is so deep in revelation Chrenyan. I have been struggling to understand if it’s biblical to pray for a loved one’s salvation? I can’t find a biblical example where someone prayed for someone’s salvation, but still, God wants everyone saved. How should I pray for my beloved? What does the Bible teach?

     
    • Chrenyan

      July 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Hey Chepkangai,

      You are the first to comment, and thanks a lot for that. Thanks for your comment.

      It is most certainly Scriptural to pray for someone else’s salvation. Especially so when that person is a family member. Part of the answer is in your own question, for the Bible says that God is not pleased by the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). But the following are also factors:

      1. God sometimes (although not always) deals in families. The Bible says that God told Noah: “Come thou and all thy house [family] into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1) And God saved Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives from the Flood. That is one Old Testament example. In the New Testament, you might recall the prison-keeper who wanted to kill himself after God shook the prison doors open, and the prisoners’ chains were loosed. But Paul stopped him, and when he cried out to be saved, he and Silas told him: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house [family].” (Acts 16:31) And he and his whole house (family) got saved and were baptized – It says he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:34) God started the family, and it is still important to Him today.
      2. About praying for someone – anyone – this is what Christ told Peter: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 (KJV) A long theological discussion can be had on what conversion means, if Peter was converted or not by that time. What I think is clear is that Christ prayed for Peter before his conversion. That very same night, Peter betrayed Christ, but that is not the end of the story, for something happened to Peter in Acts 2:1-4, and after that his life was never the same again.

      So by all means, pray. Prayer changes things. Pray earnestly and fervently for those that you love. God will save them.

       
      • thekenyaninme

        February 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        Amazing stuff, prayer changes things~

         
    • Mercy

      August 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Chepkangai,
      My name is Mercy. I read the questions you had on praying for loved ones and I thought I’d share my testimony with you if only to help answer the questions you had. I do not know if this loved one is a family member or a friend, but here’s my story anyway.
      For a long time I wondered whether it was of any use praying for loved ones to come to Christ. I argued that God has put before us life and death and He advised us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19) and so we had the ability to choose either of the two. I reasoned that those who were in darkness had made that decision and praying for them was futile.
      I often came across friends who urged me to pray for loved ones but then I would give up a short while after. I honestly thought it was a waste of time.
      Now many years later God did something that altered my belief. I was lost, blind and misguided. I thought I had the facts with me. I just didn’t realise how wrong I was or else I would have done what I ought to have done a lot earlier.
      My small brother, Paul (now in his mid twenties) had a drinking problem and it got worse every day. At first he would borrow money in order to buy drinks for himself. He was in college at the time and as it were, borrowed money was not enough to sustain his drinking. He then started to sell stuff in the house. It started with smaller things and later much bigger things. It was hard to see that side of him because Paul had the most loving of hearts. Obviously, Dad was very disappointed. He had done what he knew best (bring up his children in a morally upright way) and here he was with a son he was ashamed to call his own. Seeing how much pain this had caused my parents and especially my mum, I prayed to God to help him somehow. Paul slept in the cells many nights. At one point my sisters and I felt like Mary and Martha when they watched helpless as their brother Lazarus (whom they loved so much) died. It seemed like a hopeless situation to us. We loved our brother so much but he was spiritually dead and we were unable to do anything to help him. I remember taking my brother to a funeral of a friend’s young brother who had died from liver cirrhosis due to excessive alcohol consumption. This time, I thought he would change but still this did not help. He got an attachment in the same company I work for and he would show up to work late and drunk. He was in school at the time and had only two papers to go but he dropped out and this was the worst news to give to dad. Paul was not moved and although he agreed that his life was in a mess he did nothing about. Later I realised it wasn’t something he would have done on his own. He needed Jesus. His life got from bad to worse and it frustrated him and turned my little brother in to a monster. He once drew a knife at us and later tried to commit suicide. Paul’s life was a total mess.
      I came across the verse in John 6:44 For no one can come to me (Christ) unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, I read out this scripture over and over in our daily devotions and we prayed daily for God to make it possible for Paul and everyone else in our family to come to Christ.
      In my heart I thought it was going to be a long time before this happens and I had arranged in my mind the order of how I thought each one of them would come and naively I put Paul last on the list.
      Paul continued to show up late in the night and very drunk. At first I would speak to him and seeing it bore no fruits I decided to never speak to him but instead thank God that Paul had made it home safely. I stopped focusing on Paul. Each night I looked at a drunken Paul I told myself “God you know about this and I trust you to save my brother. I knew DEEP down that God was answering our prayers.
      However, on the day we had prayed like never before, Paul would come home completely drunk and unaware of himself. Not knowing how close we were to victory, we were tempted to complain but we did not stop praying. In my heart I was giving thanks already.
      Paul’s Salvation
      On this day, (27thApril 2012) Paul came home at about 9.30pm (quite early for him) but still very drunk. We were just about to pray. He came in, served his food and before he was done eating he blacked out on the seat. We noticed that the smell of alcohol this time was not his usual cheap stuff. It was the more expensive kind. After prayers, we went off to bed. At about midnight our small sister heard a lot noise from the sitting room but never bothered to check.
      At about 12.30 am Paul woke me up and asked me to pray for him. His exact words were “Mercy! Mercy, please niombee” I thought he was sick but when I asked him he said he was not. I looked at him and I noticed he had panicked “Ni nini?” I asked and before he could answer he started to cry. Amid sobs he said “Mercy I was in a place and it was terrible!” At first all he said was “Ahhhhh it was terrible, it was bad.” God had given him a vision.
      He told me of how he had been surrounded by anti Christs who had initially posed as his friends but had taken him to the basement of a building and wanted to offer him as a sacrifice to the devil. He tried to take off but did he could not. They already had him locked up and were planning on how to kill him. While in there, he thought of praying but he remembered that he did not know how to pray and he was afraid that the antichrists would hear him and finish him off. According to him, he had the option to pray or not to pray. He chose to pray. He said he decided “hata kama watanimaliza wacha niombe tu” So he started to call Jesus to help him. “O Jesus help me! Yesu nisaidie!’ Immediately he got conscious he began to get out of this place and he found himself on the floor and everything around him was overturned (this explains the noise my sister had heard earlier in the night). He had been fighting physically.
      He said it was so real. The same as talking to someone and when you blink you turn and realise they’re nowhere. At this point he reached out for his phone and deleted a certain number. He said it belonged to someone he met that night who said his name was Origin and that night he had been buying him the expensive alcohol.
      I knelt down and I started to pray for him as he had requested but before I was done he too knelt down and cried uncontrollably. At this point I asked him whether he wanted to be born again and he said yes. I led him to Christ and he has been new since. I never slept a wink after but he slept like a baby. All I did that night and the following day was cry out “Oh Jesus oh Jesus” Over and over again. My mother, when she heard of it spoke in tongues giving thanks to God. I had never heard mum speak in tongues before. It was a great moment for our family.
      The following day Origin called Paul for a “seminar” and this I believe is when he and others were to kill my brother. What sort of seminar this was, nobody knew and why anyone would invite a stranger to a seminar is still too hard to explain. Of course God came and saved him right on time.
      Thinking that my own brother was set to be sacrificed to the devil only makes me pray more each day for the remaining members of our family. To date Paul has not tasted alcohol. He went back to school and finished the remaining two papers. He’s set to graduate this year. Jesus brought back our brother and for that we remain grateful to God.
      Jesus prayed for His disciples and you too have every reason to pray for family members and even friends to come to Christ. However, as you pray for them pray for yourself too. When these people you love are friends I advise that you pray from a safe distance lest they influence you and pull you over to their side.
      Please read this testimony as well. .
      http://www.heraldofhiscoming.org/Past%20Issues/2012/August/if_you_have_family_members_unsaved.htm

      God bless you Chepkangai!
      Mercy

       
      • Chrenyan

        August 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm

        Hey Mercy,

        I want to thank you very, very much for sharing your story on here. It is one of the most thrilling stories I have ever read. Our God is real! And at work! In 2012! May our Lord Jesus Christ be praised. Every life is dear in His precious sight, and there is no respect of persons (preference/favouritism) with Him.

        Thanks a lot for sharing, I am sure Chepkangai is greatly blessed.

         
      • chepkangai

        August 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

        Many thanks for sharing this moving story Mercy. The ways of the Lord are amazing. Praise God! I’m greatly blessed and encouraged to keep calling on Jesus.

         
  2. Justus

    July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    The prayer of that man always inspires me every time i read Luke 18:9-14. Other versions refer to this man as a Tax Collector. I guess during this period, a Tax Collector was a representative of ‘every bad in the society’. When I read this story I get encouraged that indeed God will hear my prayers.

     
    • Chrenyan

      July 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

      You’re right bro, a tax collector represented the Roman Government, and the Jews knew they were meant to be free. It was like a “homeguard” in our Kenyan context – a sort of traitor. Such people were greatly despised, especially since they were often corrupt. Until when John the Baptist preached to them he told them “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.”

      If God will hear such a man on the basis of his honest appraisal of himself, God will also hear us.

       
  3. GACHII

    July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Chrenyan,

    That is a deep and very reassuring excerpt, While GOD is amazing in all his ways i find His nature of being a loving GOD who is ever willing to forgive amazingly awesome. When i think of my wretchedness and the consequence of sin and then i consider the mercies of GOD am left indebted to love Him…….Further, i also find that in His accepting me while yet darkness and translating me into his light that he has also placed upon me a similar responsibility of accepting others in their evenings (failures/sin) and walking them to the morning (forgiveness/acceptance).

    Thanks for the message

     
    • Chrenyan

      July 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Hi Gachii,

      Thanks so much for your comment – it is like a continuation of the article itself! That yes, God, Who has a right to condemn us and judge us without mercy, can still be merciful to us, and in like fashion we should also be willing to “accept others in their evenings.” I like that quote. Thanks again for commenting, barikiwa.

       
  4. Dex

    August 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Light will always triumph over darkness. Great read.

     
    • Chrenyan

      August 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Hey Dex,

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment – and for the compliment 😉 Amen to Light always triumphing over darkness.

       
  5. Njonjo Mue

    April 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

    This is my first visit to your blog, and this is the first article I’ve read and I just want to thank you for your clear exposition of scripture. Sometimes we (especially 1) get too caught up in the politics of the day and we forget the abiding truths of God’s redeeming grace. It feels good this morning to be taken back to that ‘ ol’ time religion.’ Thanks and God bless you.

     

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