The Overflow

living in the overflow of God's goodness through every season

Morning Dawn

FaithCarrie-Grace McConkey2 Comments
Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Recently, I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogies for the first time. One of my favorite moments is during the battle of Helm's Deep in the second movie. In case you haven't seen it, let me sketch out the details to give you the context.

Two kings travel to the fortress of Helm's Deep to protect it from an oncoming force of orcs. They arrive during the night, with no star or moon to guide them, to help the men in the fortress. Although the fortress already contains valiant warriors, the men know they are sorely outnumbered. Later in the night, the hordes of orcs approach the walls with ladders and grappling hooks to vault over into the fortress. The fighting becomes fiercer and fiercer, until, as the book, The Two Towers, puts it, "the arrows were spent, the swords notched, the shields riven." [1] Twice the orcs also try to break into the fortress through the water culvert. The second time they succeed. Just as they break through the culvert, other orcs take the wall, pouring into the fortress over and under it.

The men cannot defend the fortress for much longer.

As the night fades, one of the kings, Aragorn, stands in the gates above the orcs, holding out his hand in token of parley. The orcs jeer at him, calling out, "Why do you look out? Do you wish to see the greatness of our army? We are the fighting Uruk-hai."

Aragorn simply replies: "I looked out to see the dawn." [2]

With the dawn, he rides out of the fortress to meet the orcs in one last stand. And with the dawn, help appears in the east.

Aragorn's words have been running through my head the past few days. I looked out to see the dawn. What a beautiful, beautiful picture of hope. And as I've been thinking over several Scripture passages, I've realized how biblical this hope of dawn and deliverance is.

My brother gave me a yellow floral journaling Bible for my birthday this year. The other evening, I spent a happy several moments with a sparkly gel pen marking places where "dawn" and "deliverance" come together. The splendor of it delighted my heart. Today, I wanted to share several places in Scripture that include this theme. I've only found a few so far, but I'm sure there are many more.

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

The Exodus

As the Israelites flee from the Egyptians, Pharaoh's armies ride after them with hordes of horses and chariots. The Israelites cry out for fear when they see the approaching army, but the angel of the Lord stands between them and the Egyptians. Then the LORD commands Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea and divide it.

All this is happening at night (Ex. 14:21). According to a straightforward reading of the text, the Israelites pass through the sea at night. As Psalm 77:19 puts it, "[God's] footprints were unseen." But before the Israelites have time to rejoice, Egypt pursues them through the sea.

Feel the trauma of this. Feel the horror and impending doom.

And then Exodus 14:24 reads: "And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic."

In the morning watch.

When morning came, the LORD told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea. And when Moses obeyed, the whole host of Pharaoh's army drowned.

With the morning dawn, judgement overwhelmed for the Egyptians. And with this glorious morning, God rescued the Israelites through an amazing deliverance.

Psalm 46

I never realized how epic this poem actually was until I watched Lord of the Rings. Seeing the battles and the victory opened my eyes in a new way to Scripture. To view the full glory of this psalm, read it sometime in the context of warfare and natural disaster and impending doom.

The psalm starts out with geographical chaos, including earthquakes and flooding. It contrasts this with the "river that makes glad the city of God." Then this gem of a verse appears: "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns" (v. 5).

Did you catch that? When morning dawns, God will help His beloved city.

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Psalm 46 goes on to talk about the LORD's deliverance from the nations. When these kingdoms rage against the people of the Most High, He will deliver Jerusalem. Verse 9 says that the LORD "makes wars cease to the ends of the earth." The psalm ends with peace for Jerusalem - the chaos of warfare is put to rest as the Lord breaks the bows, spears and chariots of the enemy.

Near the end of the psalm, verse 11 exhorts us with this comforting reminder: "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The lord of hosts, the Commander of Heaven's armies, is with us. And just like He helped Jerusalem, so He will help us - when morning dawns. Let us wait with still hearts for His deliverance from the trials that assail us.

The Resurrection

Three days after Jesus' crucifixion, several women, including Mary Magdalene, walked to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with more spices. But when they arrived, they found the stone was rolled away and the tomb no longer held Jesus' body. Listen to these verses:

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb." Luke 24:1-2

Luke tells us that the hour was "early dawn." What a perfect time for the women to discover the Son of God's resurrection. The darkness of fear and sin and death had vanished with the rising Light. As Matthew 4:16 says, "On them has light dawned." The dawn of the morning pointed in a vivid way to the dawning light of Jesus Christ.

2 Peter

"And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation." 2 Peter 1:19-20

One day, a glorious day shall dawn for us. One day the darkness shall give way to everlasting light. Instead of needing the sun or even lamps for light, Revelation 22 tells us that the Lord God will be our light. Truly, that dawn will be worth waiting for.

There are many more examples of the significance of morning dawn. Here are three more to chew on:

  • Jacob wrestled with the angel until break of day. He received a new name and a blessing.
  • King Darius came to the lion's den in early morning. He found Daniel alive and well.
  • In John 21, the disciples spent an unsuccessful night of fishing. Jesus appeared to them just as dawn was breaking, providing them with a catch of fish.
Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Perhaps you're going through a dark season right now. If you are, cling to Christ in the darkness, and please, please remember that one day, darkness will give way to light. The night is only a shadow before the everlasting dawn breaks.

While you're waiting, hold fast to Scripture (2 Peter 1:19). It's one of the most important tools God uses to give us strength through trials.

So, dear friend, stand firm through the darkness. And like Aragorn did, "look out to see the dawn" - a dawn that shall never fade away.

"Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:4-5