Points to Ponder: God is Up at an UnGodly Hour
Points to Ponder
God is Up at an UnGodly Hour
I am up most days at 4am. Some people think it's crazy, such an "ungodly hour." This is a habit I gradually adopted over a period of years. As a teen I could easily sleep til 9 or 9:30am on a Saturday, and on most weekdays in the summer. At age 17, it suddenly occurred to me: "This will be the only year in which I will be 17." What a revelation for my developing brain! Time goes on whether you use it or sleep it away. "How much life am I missing?"
I found through my young adult years that sleeping later meant I would stay up later. Doing what? Watching T.V. or movies. What good was in this? That night's two-three hours of television gave me nothing useful for the next day. Oh, I had enjoyed the moment, but I lost the time - twice. Twice?
First, most television programming is rather pointless. Even the news offers very little useful information; plus it's surrounded by multiple commercials for stuff I neither need nor want. Secondly, I have to sleep longer to get the rest I'd sacrificed to the television.
When I began a regular exercise routine, I found mornings to be the best time. I felt better, and slept better, and that discipline made me more disciplined in other areas.
As a new Christian, I was convicted that I should give as much time to spiritual fitness as I was to physical fitness.
It took a number of years, but gradually I backed up the alarm clock setting. I found that the more time I spent in the Bible, the more I wanted to spend in it. The 4am time became the fixed time to rise, read the Bible for 15 to 45 minutes, then work out.
An "ungodly hour?" I discovered that God is a "morning person." The hour of "O-dark-thirty," as they say, is actually very Godly. Read Jeremiah.
During the declining years of the Kingdom of Judah, as the Babylonia invasion and subsequent exile were approaching, God warned them over and over,
"And I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer" (Jeremiah 7:13).
Jeremiah says he'd been bringing the message of impending judgment for twenty-three years; "the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking but you have not listened" (25:3).
It struck me as significant that God as well as His chosen prophet were up early at the beginning of the day, to reach their hearts.
"And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear" (25:4).
Think about it. How you start your day usually sets the tone and the direction for how it will go and how it will end. Will you be on track to achieve your goals? How do you begin your day? Do you run your schedule or does your schedule run you? A lack of self-discipline begins inside of you. And discipline begins early. No runner waits til after the race begins to commit himself to the challenges of the course and weather, and the pressure of the opposition - the athlete in any sport, prepares early; starting with the mind and then with the body. So it is in spiritual matters. God rises early to meet you at the starting line of your day. In Jeremiah's time, God's people had turned their backs on Him.
"Though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction" (Jeremiah 32:33; cf 35:14-15; 44:4).
God takes the initiative to set up the meeting and to show up early. It's funny, and pitiful, that people will camp all night outside a store to rise up early for some gadget or game. So it's not that folks aren't capable of rising up early. It's about motivation. Inclining one's ear to hear. Wouldn't it be a worthy goal to rise up early - even just 10-15 minutes? Ask God to speak, read a chapter of scripture, and then incline your spirit's ear to hear. How many life-changing insights have you slept through?
Tough challenge? Anything worth doing will be that.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days.