Throughout scripture, our Giver God has repeatedly worked in the heart of the night to set in motion the next chapter of His ageless Story. An autobiography of the Spirit of Grace woven in and through the lives of those who have served His purpose for a body prepared for His next movement in Time. He loves giving Life to life. In the dark.
Deep Sleep, Thick Darkness
With days that begin in the evening, deep sleep and thick darkness command the night – before the light of dawn appears. Countless times in the course of history, it is in such conditions that the Spirit of God arrives on the scene.
In the select few examples that follow, there was always a passage of time where Elohiym was present before He used deep sleep and thick darkness as His ally for the benefit of His creation.
We see His deep sleep, thick darkness pattern first established, as recorded in scripture, in Genesis 1:2-5 –
Now the earth was (Heb. to exist, to be or become) formless and empty (void wasteland, wilderness), darkness was over the surface (face of) the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.
But! He was there at Genesis 1:1 and long before, this Ancient of Days in whom dwells Eternity. We are among the blessed inheritors of His Spirit hovering over the face of the deep and bringing forth light out of the darkness.
Then came Adam, the original bachelor – for how long we are not told. Genesis chapter two makes it clear that the Lord God related with Adam and the living creatures before He determined it wasn’t good for Adam to remain alone.
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs (or, took part of the man’s side) and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21-22)
Giver God with a Bride for His Son, the Last Adam, held close to His eternal breast – set in motion the First Adam’s story and bloodline. While he was in deep sleep, the Lord God built (lit.) a woman1 from the part He had removed from the man1. Separated out in the darkness, Adam awoke to find he was no longer alone. In the light of dawn, the Father heart of God presented to Adam his companion counterpart from the Mother heart of Father God. The creative life-work of the Lord God with Adam and Eve so long ago, was echoed in Jesus’ high priestly prayer.2
Genesis 15 tells of God’s covenant with Abram set in motion under cover of darkness. But not before He took Abram outside and told him to look at the heavens and count the stars, if indeed he could. Such would be his offspring. Abram believed God. In faith, he questioned how he could know that he would gain possession of the promise. He followed the Lord’s instructions of faith-proof and drove away the birds of prey come to devour his offering. Then,
As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain…”, (vs 12-13a).
Troubling news followed. But then, when the sun had set and darkness had fallen, the LORD Himself used Abram’s obedient preparation to cut the indissoluble covenant with him, on that day, as he slept. (vs 17-18ff).
Down the halls of Time – Nehemiah, who examined the ruins of Jerusalem under cover of night before setting about the work of repair in the light (2:11-18). God used Nehemiah’s deep sadness in the presence of the king to set in motion the next chapter in the timetable of His purposed will of the ages. Some today feel like a Nehemiah.
“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of…”
I can relate to time’s constraint in penning this post; more as I consider the lineage and weightiness of Hebrews 11’s faith-bearers. Called apart from conformity to the world around them, they lived by faith in accordance with the portion of God’s heart set in motion within them, regardless of the surrounding and deepened darkness.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
When Jesus arrives in the flesh did not occur in their lifetimes. When Jesus arrives most certainly did in the Spirit of God who visited each of them in a deeply personal way. Individually, He called them to first be set apart for Himself. Then, as each one moved in obedient belief to the word and command of the Lord, He was raised high, in and through them, as a witness of His life in a dark and weary land. The Spirit of the Lord lit the fire of their faith. And that faith for which they were commended by God, was kept burning by communion with Him in the heart of the night, one dark to dawn after another.
Seven hundred years later, Jesus spoke of Himself in Matthew 4:16 when He quoted Isaiah’s prophecy. Jesus had arrived in the flesh. His ministry began at the time appointed by His Father; His appearance, the rising Light of Dawn. So will His Bride.
The Pattern continues
The believing faith that took root in the ancients has not diminished.3 In the perfect faithfulness of God’s timing, they wait in hope for us who are still in the vineyard in these dark days of Christ’s increasing light and weight of glory.
Faith, hope, and love remain the heart responses the Lord longs after and looks for, the greatest of which is love.4 Bless the Shulamite as the pattern continues its reach to us. Her increasing love is a light in the heart of the night.
1 ishshah to man’s ish; after the Fall, Adam “named his wife Eve (probably means living) because she would become the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20) 2 John 17 3 Hebrews 11:2 4 I Corinthians 13:13
Recommended reading: Genesis 1 & 2; Genesis 12-14 before the call of Abram; Book of Nehemiah; Hebrews 11