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!

___________

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!

___________

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!

___________

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!  

___________

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

Comments

The Grace of Contentment

Have I learned? Learned to be content with whatsoever may be my lot?

The answer to this pointed, definitely personal question the word of God in this passage would elicit from our hearts.

Let us not overlook two features of the text. First, it is a personal profession. Second, it speaks of contentment as a lesson that must be learned. As a personal confession it purposes to have a place in our own hearts and upon our own lips, so that we have really not heard the word of God until we, you and I can repeat it after the apostle with personal application: I have learned to be content with whatsoever may be my state.

Comments

The Pilgrim’s Goal

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”—Hebrews 13:14

Christian, press on!

At the end of your way, there is a city to come—the city that has foundations, prepared for you from before the foundations of the world by your God.

It is your goal.

Until it is reached and you have entered through its pearly gates, you may not, you cannot, you must not tarry. Onward you must go; ever onward you must press, never once tarrying or abiding, never fearfully or hesitantly clinging to the things you might meet on your pilgrim’s journey.

Does not the pilgrim dwell in a tent?

He has no city.

In a city one abides, digs foundations, builds firmly to erect a lasting and permanent dwelling place, a continuing home. There are the ties that bind, the treasures one loves, the joys one seeks. There is one’s life. In a tent, however, one tarries but for a night, to rest and recuperate, in order to pull up the stakes at daybreak and press forward and travel onward until the final goal is reached.

Comments

Commemorate and meditate on Christ’s suffering and death with these books

Christ is and was the king...

…whose kingdom is not of this world, and who rejected all the glory that this world offers.
…who refused to allow the Jews to crown him king, though he was the King of the Jews.
…who fought alone, without an army.
...who was arrested by his own people, and mocked by the representatives of the Roman Empire, the great earthly kingdom of that day.
…who was crucified because he was King, and remained King when he died.
…who, being risen and ascended, is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
To this divinely anointed King, this book is witness. Behold your King, and worship him!

Comments

The Royal Sufferer

Christ is and was the king…

…whose kingdom is not of this world, and who rejected all the glory that this world offers.
…who refused to allow the Jews to crown him king, though he was the King of the Jews.
…who fought alone, without an army.
…who was arrested by his own people, and mocked by the representatives of the Roman Empire, the great earthly kingdom of that day.
…who was crucified because he was King, and remained King when he died.
…who, being risen and ascended, is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

To this divinely anointed King, this book is witness. Behold your King, and worship him!

Comments

Coming this month...The Royal Sufferer

The Royal Sufferer, the second book in the series of Lenten meditations by Rev. Herman Hoeksema will be available in a few weeks!

As you commemorate Christ’s suffering and death, read this book and meditate on the kingship of  Jesus. He went to the cross, not as a convict or slave, but as a king. Think on him as the king who establishes his kingdom through his death, a king victorious in both his death and resurrection.

This book will NOT be automatically sent to book club members. Only Gold Star* members will automatically receive this title. Or order your copy today!

Comments

A Review from the Past

*This review by William Hendricksen was published in the September 5, 1969 edition of The Banner.

BEHOLD, HE COMETH! by Herman Hoeksema (author) and Homer C. Hoeksema (editor and reviser), Published by Reformed Publishing Association, 1969; distributed by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. Price: $9.95.

Truly a formidable volume with no less than seven hundred twenty-six pages, it was the last large work written by the pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, and has been published posthumously. The preparation for publication in book form was begun by the author and completed by his son, who not only did a splendid job of editing but also revised and expanded the exposition of Revelation 19–22.

What is the nature of this book? It is not merely a book of outlines. Neither is it a dry-as-dust exegesis without practical application. It is something far better. It is an exposition in the form of sermons or essays. In serial form the exposition appeared first in The Standard Bearer, of which Rev. Herman Hoeksema was the editor for many years. The author also twice expounded the book of Revelation in sermons. With respect to these his son writes as follows:

His sermons, of which there were two complete sets, totaling well over a hundred…were delivered with a warmth and fervor which kept a large congregation at spellbound attention Sunday after Sunday.

Continue reading...

Comments

Behold, He Cometh! now in its sixth printing

Behold, He Cometh! has recently been reprinted (with a new updated interior design) making this its sixth printing! First published in 1969, the RFPA has now printed 10,500 copies of this title. 

Also now available in ebook format for the first time!

Comments

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.

Continue reading...

Comments

Start your graduate’s library with a gift of RFPA books

CONSIDER ONE OF OUR BOOK SETS FOR YOUR GRADUATE

UNFOLDING COVENANT HISTORY SERIES (volumes 1-5)

From creation to the book of Ruth, Prof. Homer Hoeksema and Prof. David Engelsma teach familiar stories from the unique perspective of God’s covenant. His relationship of friendship with his people of the Old Testament is the same one he makes with us and our children!

THE TRIPLE KNOWLEDGE SERIES (volumes 1-10)

Rev. Herman Hoeksema’s timeless commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. Your graduate hears the Catechism preached every week. What better way to prepare for the Lord’s day than to read from a commentary that expands on each question and answer?

REFORMED SPIRITUALITY SERIES

Every graduate should begin a strong devotional life as he or she enters the workforce or pursues further education. Each meditation in these devotionals contains three or four sections. Read a section or two in the morning, another at lunch, and the last in the evening. This way, your graduate can think on one passage over the course of the whole day.

Comments

Recent Blog PostsRSS

Have you upgraded yet?

Afraid of the Gospel (6)

Post Tags

On Twitter

Follow @reformedfreepub