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'Rising Up Early'

Eleven times God uses this expression about Himself in the writings of Jeremiah: '...rising up early and speaking' (7:13); '...my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them' (7:25); '...rising up early and teaching them' (32:33). It is a figure of speech, of course, for 'he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep' (Ps. 121:4). Graciously God uses language familiar to us to express His earnestness and the depth of His desire for our well-being. In Jeremiah's day Israel refused to listen. In this they are presented to us as a solemn warning.

By a simple transition of thought the expression God uses carries its message to our hearts, for the Scriptures record examples of those who rose early in their eagerness to commune with their God. David comes readily to mind. 'O LORD, in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; in the morning will I order my prayer unto thee, and will keep watch' (Ps. 5:3). The sons of Korah similarly '...in the morning shall my prayer come before thee' (Ps. 88:13).

Our prime Example is our blessed Master Himself, of course. Of Him Mark records 'in the morning, a great while before day, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed' (1:35). From Isaiah we learn that it was His daily habit: '...he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught' (50:4).

It is a well-worn subject, constantly referred to, the importance of the Quiet Time, as it is sometimes called, but experience proves that we cannot too frequently remind one another of the absolute necessity of it, if a healthy spiritual life is to be maintained. It is possibly the first thing in our lives that our Adversary challenges. He knows, perhaps even better than we do, that if he can succeed in making us careless about our daily communion with the Lord, he has gained a resounding victory.

Hosea tells us that the morning dew passes early away (6:4; 13:3) and it was on the dew that the manna rested (Num. 11:9). When the sun rose it melted away (Ex. 16:21). So the people had to gather it early in the morning. Is there not a lesson there for us? It was their daily food; vital to their life. If they failed to gather it they would starve. And did not the Lord Jesus emphasize that word from God's ancient law, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God' (Mat. 4:4), thus relating it unquestionably to our daily lives? Let us not be satisfied until we can say with Job, and sincerely mean it, 'I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food' (23:12): '...in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me', said Ezekiel (12:8). And when the Lord Jesus was on earth 'all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him' (Luke 21:38). He was there before they were, ready to speak to them, and it was His daily practice, for verse 37 says 'every day he was teaching in the temple'.

On that memorable journey to Emmaus with those two despondent disciples 'he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself' (Luke 24:27). And the Holy Spirit has come to continue the work which the Lord Jesus began. He loves to reveal Christ to us in the Word. That is one of His primary functions in indwelling our hearts. On our part, if we are to benefit, it will take time and discipline and quietness of heart, but if we build these things into our lives as a daily habit we shall be abundantly rewarded. The Holy Spirit desires to make the Lord Jesus as real and precious to us as He was to those two disciples whose heart burned within them as He spake to them in the way. How much do we experience of this sort of heart-burning? God is in earnest, 'rising up early and speaking'. Let us be in earnest too.