Moonlight Reveries

“And God made two great lights…the lesser light to rule the night.”—Genesis 1:16 

“And God said,…and let them be for signs.”—Genesis 1:14

How marvelous in its beauty is the night!

How full of speech and utterance of knowledge to him who in God’s light sees the light.

How comforting and instructing for the pilgrim child of God, passing through a night of sin, suffering, and death to the eternal morning in God’s everlasting tabernacle.

I do not mean the dark, wild, and dreadful night, when the furious tempest rages and the wild wind howls and the storm-swept waves roar and the fiercely driven clouds, like panic-stricken demons, chase one another through the dark sky; when the floods rush and the sea groans mournfully and the woods moan and all creation wails.

In such a night I fear. It is the night of terror.

It fills the heart with dreadful apprehension of approaching judgment; it speaks of creation’s bondage in corruption, of evil and pain, of suffering and grief, of the creature as it tore itself loose from the heart of its creator and is now restlessly driven about, seeking peace and finding none, terror-stricken and chased as by an overpowering fear; of wrath revealed from heaven and impending destruction.

I mean the still and deep night.

The night of profound peace, when all creation slumbers… When just a mere breath of a breeze floats through the still woods…When only a slightly dimpling ripple runs playfully over the surface of the lake…When high in the deep heavens glides the moon, flooding the landscape with its kindly pale light, daubing the woods with a thousand splotches of twinkling silver, and splashing a sparkling path across the rippled lake…When all is at rest, and the creature just waits for the morning.

How beautiful then is the night!

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The queen of the night mingles silent speech with the silvery beams she pours forth into the darkness.

For God said, “Let them be for signs.”

Not only to rule the day is the sun set in the heavens, and not only as queen of the night rides the moon along her path in the firmament, and not simply to serve as lights in the darkness do the stars sparkle like angels’ jewelry in the darkened sky.

But God said that they should also be for signs.

As signs they speak. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard” (Ps. 19:1–3).

They testify in their own realm of earthly and temporal things and of heavenly and eternal things. For the Lord God, whose counsel will stand and who accomplishes all his good pleasure, who knows and declares all things from the beginning, wrote as with his finger in all this symbol-language of creation not only of the glory of his name, the power of his might, and the unsearchable riches of his wisdom, but also of the wonder of his counsel, the glory of his kingdom, and the beauty of his covenant.

Because of this the earthly is the image of the heavenly; in the temporal there is a picture of the eternal; the natural is a symbol of the spiritual.

True, a silent speech they utter. Their language will never be truly understood by the natural man, whose sphere is the earthly not the heavenly, who loves darkness rather than light, who despises God’s word and never understands that also this light, shining from all the works of God’s hands, is to be seen only in God’s light.

But speech of God it is nevertheless, wonderful to him who has eyes to see and ears to hear.

For signs they are. The greater light by day and the lesser light by night. And every night the queen of the heavens pours her silvery speech into the silent darkness.

Showing knowledge!

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A sign in the darkness is the moon in the heavens.

Smiling kindly, she whispers, “Fear not, for the darkness of the night is only a passing shadow!”

For is not her mellow light a reflection of the glory of the sun? What does the moon do except catch some of the sun’s golden glory, change it into her own silver beauty, and pour it into the night? Does she not witness that even though the sun sank into oblivion below the western horizon, and although its glad rays do not for the moment brighten my path, yet its glory still exists and its brightness is not diminished?

When the sun does not shine on my earthly habitation and the darkness of night is spread over my dwelling, from the high heavens the queen of the night pours forth the testimony, “The golden ruler of the day still is and shines where I am!”

She thus witnesses that the night is only a shadow.

The night is not like that first horrible darkness, when the earth was still waste and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. For then there was no light in all the awful void of chaos.

But the night is a mere shadow of turning, a shadow in the midst of a flood of light poured into the wide expanse of the universe.

A beautiful picture this is of the path of God’s children in the world. For pilgrims through the night are the children of God, the sojourners to Zion, the seekers of the city of God.

How dark seems the night through which they pass on their way to the light eternal! How dark often is the night of sin, when floods of guilt and iniquity roll over their souls and it seems as if they cannot be delivered from so great a death. What awful night of corruption there still is in the dark recesses of their hearts, whenever new and hitherto unknown darknesses and shadows of death and pollution arise from that hidden source. What night of pain, suffering, and agony of body and soul is the lot of God’s pilgrim children when it is with them as with Asaph of old, and their chastisements are there every morning. What darkness of sorrow and grief often overwhelms their souls! What night of reproach and shame, of cruel mockery and enmity they pass through when the enemy raves and furiously attacks for Christ’s sake, and persecution is their lot in the world.

And presently…

The night of death yawns threateningly from the dark and dreary prison of the grave.

How dreadful would seem that night. Did the sun of light and life and joy disappear forever when it sank from view in paradise the first? Was its glory extinguished, never to appear again?

God forbid!

The moon in the heavens whispers into the silent night of nature that the sun is still there, though for the moment you see it not.

The earthly is image of the heavenly. The sun of life is still there, even though with sadness of heart you remember its setting in Eden’s garden.

Pilgrim, your night of sin and guilt and sorrow and grief, of reproach and shame and tribulation is only for a while.

A passing shadow!

Fear not, O pilgrim of the night, for your light shines. There is a silvery path across your night, reflected from the Sun of Righteousness. It shines still, although you see it not.

Be not afraid!

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How beautiful is the moonlit night.

For a sign is the moon, harbinger of the coming morning.

Does not she witness that the sun, though disappeared and hidden from view in the present night, will rise again with new glory and brighter gold and presently break the morning of a new day through the darkness of the eastern sky?

Does not her presence reconcile me with and comfort me in the night, when she assures me of the coming dawn?

Speech from the night for you, pilgrim to Zion!

Oh, surely the night in nature is also the symbol of another night, where the light will shine nevermore and the sun will never rise, the night of everlasting sorrow and pain, darkness, and moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The fierce night, full of tempest and disturbance, full of moaning and groaning, the night when the sun is darkened and the moon appears as blood and the stars drop out of the seam of heaven—that night is a sign and a symbol of the everlasting night prepared for those who love the darkness rather than the light because their works are evil.

Fierce and full of terror can be the night of nature. Fiercer and more terrible will be that everlasting night of the wrath of God!

But such is not the night of Zion’s pilgrim.

His is the moonlit night. That night speaks of the coming morning, for the queen of the night witnesses of the approach of the bridegroom of the morning.

The sun of life, joy, and righteousness set in the garden of Eden. And darkness spread, darkness of sin and guilt, sorrow and grief, and pain and affliction.

For a time we wander through the darkness, longing for the light of day.

But the morning is approaching.

For the Sun of Righteousness is there. He once appeared. He was humiliated. He suffered. He died. He disappeared from view in the awful darkness of his cross. But he appeared again, glorious, full of life and grace; and again he left and disappeared from view. For a while we see him not. But he left us his sure word and promise, his light in the night. It assures us in the midst of night that presently the Sun of Righteousness will rise once more, in unknown glory and beauty, never to set again, to dissipate all the clouds and shadows of suffering and grief, of sin and corruption and death, and to lighten our day with the light of God in his eternal tabernacle.

Fear not, O pilgrim!

Yours is the beauty of the moonlit night.

The night of your affliction is only for a moment, a passing shadow. The morning comes, the day eternal, full of life, light, joy, and covenantal friendship.

For there shall be no night there.

Be of good cheer.

March on!  

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This blog post was taken from chapter 6 in the book All Glory to the Only Good God

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His Workmanship

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

Lest any man should boast.

God alone is God. As such he must be acknowledged by every creature.

Of him, and through him, and unto him are all things. Never is anything of us and through us. Nor is anything partly of us and through us. Hence his alone is the glory for ever and ever. And this glory must be attributed to him. He will give it to no other.

Therefore salvation is of the Lord.

It is by grace, from beginning to end by grace only; not of works, lest any man should boast.

To boast, to claim part of the glory that belongs to God only, and therefore to claim all the glory that is his alone, is the tendency of sin, the inclination of the sinful heart. “Ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5) is the slogan that expresses the deepest motive of the natural man. He refuses to glorify God as God and to be thankful.

So he is always inclined to deprive God of his glory, to say that salvation is of his own works. It is hard for him to confess that sovereign grace alone is the source and ground and power of salvation. Somehow he always attempts to introduce his work into the work of God, to share in the glory of the divine work that delivers him from guilt and clothes him with an eternal righteousness, that cleanses him from the pollution of sin and sanctifies him unto the service of the living God, that lifts him out of the depth of the misery of death and hell into the glory of eternal life and heavenly bliss.

In various ways he seeks to escape the consequences of salvation by grace and to maintain that he is saved by works. Sometimes he attempts to work out his own righteousness and to make this righteousness of works the basis of his salvation. Sometimes he apparently is willing to confess that he is saved by grace, but he contends that it is works that make him worthy of this grace. But in the measure that he introduces his own works into the wonder of salvation, he deprives the God of salvation of his glory.

Man boasts.

Yet no man may boast in the presence of the Most High.

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Singular Love

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”—1 John 3:1

BEHOLD!

What marvelous love was bestowed upon us!

No cold, matter-of-fact statement the apostle makes before the church of all ages. Rather it must be seen as a shout of ecstasy pressed from the author’s heart under the influence of an over-mastering emotion. Rapt out of himself and elevated above the reach of ordinary, natural perception, caught up in the sphere of heavenly and spiritual mysteries, he beckons the church to come with him and to contemplate these heavenly joys, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us! Sons of God we are called.”

The full implication of this marvelous truth has not yet been revealed. The term “sons of God” is still pregnant with possibilities that will not be fully realized until the day when we will see God as he is. But potentially, in spiritual principle, and in Jesus Christ we are all we ever will be. For now we are sons of God.

What unspeakable glory!

There is in the divine family of the ever-blessed Trinity one Son. In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead perfectly, infinitely, unfathomed, and inexhaustible. Father’s life is his life, Father’s power is his power, Father’s glory is his glory, Father’s mind is his mind, Father’s will is his will. He knows the Father as he is known by him; he loves the Father as he is loved by him. He is the perfect effulgence of Father’s glory, the express image of his person, and he lives with Father, in his bosom, in everlasting, infinite, perfectly intimate, and confidentially friendly communion of unblemished love.

To be called sons of God is to be called after him.

Not as if we should be or aspire to be God, as the Son of God is. The essential difference between God and us, between creator and creatures, between the infinite and the finite, between the Son and the brethren of Jesus Christ will never be removed. Even so and barring all pantheism, which is of the evil one, and strictly maintaining the eternal distinction between the ever-blessed God and his creaturely children, we do not overestimate the glory and the marvel of love the apostle has in mind if we state that to be called sons of God is to be called after the only begotten of the Father.

To be sons of God implies that also we in creaturely measure partake of Father’s life, Father’s glory, and Father’s love. It signifies that we are his and that he manifests the glory of his image through us. It means that God’s mind, heart, will, and all that is within him are motivated by the living power of a Father’s love toward us, so that his thoughts over us are always paternal thoughts, the counsel of his will is dominated by fatherly love, and the desires of his heart are paternal longings to bless and to glorify us, to have us with him in everlasting light of bliss and to press us in heavenly glory at his bosom. It means that our minds, wills, and hearts are dominated by this overpowering influence of a son’s love toward him, so that we think as sons, will as sons, love as sons, and long to walk as sons in Father’s light, to know him as we are known, to see him face-to-face, and to rejoice forever in the secret communion of his covenantal friendship.

To be called sons of God means that God calls us such, that he operates within our hearts until we call ourselves such and cry, “Abba, Father,” and that he will so fill us with his life and so impress upon us the glorious image of his Son that presently the whole world will be compelled to call us children of the Most High.

To be called sons of God. Singular blessing. Marvel of love.

Behold! What manner of love!

Bestowed upon us.

As by faith with the apostle, we rise to the elevated plane of vision to behold the wonder of blessings bestowed upon us, and to contemplate with the apostle the marvel of divine love that becomes manifest in this unspeakable glory, let us not fail to emphasize this little but so significant “us.”

Upon us this love was bestowed!

Upon whom?

Were we perhaps worthy of such love? When this love found you and me, where were we? What was our state before him who revealed such marvelous love toward us? What was our name? What were our rights? What was the condition of our hearts and minds before him who loved us? Could we claim any right to such love? Was there perchance within us some smoldering fires of love to which his love responded, or some lingering remnants of beauty that kindled the fire of so great a love in his divine heart?

We know better.

Search as we may, never will we find within ourselves an inkling of anything that might explain the mystery of this great love. Rather, the longer and more deeply we search in our hearts and lives, the greater the mystery of this love looms before our wondering eyes.

Rights we had none, unless condemnation can be called a right. For we were guilty, sins innumerable as the hairs of our heads testifying against us. Daily we were adding to these condemning sins and thus gathering veritable treasures of wrath for the day of righteous judgment. Our name was children of our father the devil. For true though it is that Father originally formed us after his image and that our features still bespeak that noble origin, even this remembrance of a former glory only witnesses against us. The fact is that by nature we are children of the devil. Our minds, so evidently adapted to the light of God, wantonly chose the darkness in preference to that light; our wills, so plainly formed to will Father’s will, foolishly submitted themselves to the slavery of Satan; our hearts, so manifestly fitted to throb with the love of God, we sinfully filled with enmity against him. Children of wrath we were, hating God and one another, our backs toward Father, our faces toward hell.

Thus we were and there he found us, neither longing for him nor seeking him, wallowing in sin, groping in darkness, defiled in our blood.

And upon us, so guilty, so miserable, so abominable, he bestowed such manner of love.

Oh, what impenetrable mysteries!

What marvel of love!

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This meditation was taken from the first part of Chapter 16 in the book All Glory to the Only Good God  written by Herman Hoeksema.

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Jehovah Our Sun and Shield

A sun is Jehovah God!

Wonderfully significant is the sun in nature as an image of the Lord our God.

With relation to our universe, that golden bridegroom of the day, issuing forth from his chambers and going on his way through the firmament rejoicing, is radiating with fullness of life and blessing for every creature.

When in the still and dark hour just before dawn of a day in June you repair to a favorite spot—where gentle zephyrs lisp, the trees murmur mysteriously, and the brook ripples playfully; where the humble wildflower displays the rich beauty of its colored garment for which it did not labor or spin; and where winged beauties sing and call to one another—to wait and to watch for the rising of the sun…

And when, as you watch, a pale glimmer in the eastern sky announces the approach of morning and dispels the darkness of the night, rousing from their slumbers the feathered inhabitants of the woods, who respond to the call of the morning, first cooing sleepily and complainingly, and then, as gradually the pale gray of dawn brightens into the gold of morning, chirruping and singing cheerfully; and when you see how the rising sun, now fast increasing in strength of golden brightness until finally the last streaks of morning cloud have vanished before its splendor, suffuses the entire scene with wondrous glory, pouring life and light over flower and leaf, into brook and meadow, transforming the black robe of night’s darkness into a veritable garb of many-colored beauty…


Oh, how wonderful a picture is the sun!

 

 

 

 

 

What a fullness of life it pours into the universe.

What a center of blessings it appears.

It draws from sea, ocean, and lake the rain into soft cloud-vessels and pours refreshing showers over field and forest; it nourishes and warms the seeds in the furrows and causes them to sprout; it makes the flowers bloom and reveals their beauty; it spreads life and joy, energy and light, and it calls man and beast to action.

The Lord God is a sun.

A sun not as if there were other suns, for he is God and there is no God besides him, but a sun because he is in himself the fullness of all good. He is light and there is no darkness in him. Such is his being. He does not possess light, but he is light. He does not simply live, but he is life. He does not just contain goodness, but he is goodness. He is light and life, brightness and holiness, goodness and grace and mercy, righteousness and justice, joy and peace. He is goodness and perfection, an ever-blessed light. And his perfection is not derived from any other sources. It is absolutely original with him, uncaused, and eternal. As the triune God he lives the life of perfect light by and in himself.

Still more.

The Lord God is a sun also because he radiates his goodness and pours forth his light-life upon all who are in communion with him. He is for them the fount of all good, which spreads grace and glory. Like the rising sun in nature, so he dispels the darkness of the night of sin and death. For he reveals the brightness of his beauty, the glory of his goodness, the perfection of his holiness and righteousness, the blessedness of his grace in Christ Jesus, and through him Jehovah scatters the blessed rays of his own light into the hearts of his children.

For Jehovah God is a sun. The uncaused light in himself, full of grace and glory.

He is also the sole cause of all light and life, radiating his blessed goodness into the hearts of all his children. He makes them partakers of his holiness, love, blessedness, and joy. In their hearts he spreads abroad the riches of his love, makes the night flee away—a night of sin and corruption, of hatred and the lie, of death and hell—and calls forth the dawn of a new day, shining with the light of righteousness and holiness, of love in truth, of heavenly bliss and eternal life.

For the Lord will give grace and glory. He radiates grace and makes his children partakers of it in Christ Jesus. And his grace makes glorious. Even as sin is corruption and makes one inglorious, vile, abject, repulsive, leading to outer darkness in eternal desolation, so grace is goodness and brings glory to those who partake of it, making them full of grace and beauty.

How blessed is Jehovah God!

What a fullness of joy and life is he. Surely he is a sun.

How blessed is his communion! For without him, without the scope of the radiation of his blessed light, there is the darkness of death. In his communion there is grace and glory.

How amiable are his tabernacles, the place beside his altar. How much more blessed to be only a doorkeeper in his house, catching at least some of his blessed light, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, where all is darkness and death!

O Lord of hosts, light of lights, radiant with eternal perfection, how blessed is the man over whom thou dost spread thy tabernacle and who dwells in thy light!

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This excerpt was taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God (Chapter 4a).

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