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September 23 Today’s Reading: Zechariah 10-14
“At evening time it shall be light.”
Zechariah is describing this Day of Grace and Salvation, this day in which the Lord God is gathering His elect out of the nations. When He pours out upon His chosen the Spirit of grace and supplications (12:10), Christ is opened to the believing sinner as a Cleansing Fountain (13:1). Because the Shepherd was smitten, the scattered sheep shall be gathered (13:7-9). And in that day “at evening time it shall be light.”
The Day of Conversion
First and foremost, this word of grace refers to that wondrous, miraculous, irresistible work of God the Holy Spirit performed in the hearts of poor sinners, when He gives chosen, redeemed sinners faith in Christ. And when Christ is revealed in the heart of a sinner who has been engulfed in thick darkness, it is evening time in his soul; but it is a strange evening time, for it is an evening time of light.
Sunrise at sunset is contrary to nature; and the rising of the Sun of Righteousness is the wondrous work of God’s free grace. Has such an event taken place in your soul? It is evening time in the soul, engulfed in midnight darkness, before first the Lord shines in the heart. Then, suddenly, when we have lost all hope and the darkness of guilt and sin and shame is so great that it is felt darkness in our hearts, the Lord God surprises His chosen with the light of His mercy, love, and grace in Christ. When the darkness is so great that we cry, “My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God” (Isaiah 40:27), God commands the light to shine out of darkness and shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Neither Clear nor Dark
As it is in the beginning, so it is throughout this Day of Grace for God’s people. God’s prophet tells us that throughout our earthly pilgrimage the light shall be neither “clear, nor dark” (v. 6). We “walk in the light, as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7), trusting God our Savior. Yet, we continually walk in darkness (Isaiah 50:10). Our souls’ experience in this Day of Grace verifies Zechariah’s prophecy. While we live in this world, it is neither “day, nor night.” Ours is a mingled state of grace and corruption. When things seem to be utter darkness, when distresses come from within and from without, the Lord graciously divides light from darkness, causes “the light to shine upon it,” and “discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death” (Job 3:4; 12:22). He graciously turns our darkness to light.
Yet, as long as we live in this body of flesh we must be led by our God “with weeping and supplications” (Jeremiah 31:9). It is in our weakness that Christ’s strength is manifested and made perfect. We often cry with Jacob, “All these things are against me!” But in the evening we find that all have been for us. The Lord often brings darkness, that His light may be more strikingly brilliant in the evening. He hedges up our way with thorns, that the almighty hand that removes them may be more plainly seen. It is a blessed thing to be brought low, to be surrounded with difficulties, to see no way of escape, and have all human resources fail, that our extremity may be His opportunity, so that when we are most low, we may see Christ most high and exalted.
Are you stripped, humbled, convinced of your nothingness? Look away to our all-precious, all-suitable, all-glorious, all-gracious, all-compassionate Lord Jesus, and hear His sweet promise. — “At evening time it shall be light.”
The Evening of Life
Certainly, this is a promise to God’s saints in the evening time of life in this world. I have seen it verified on numerous occasions. Two in particular stand out in my memory. As a young pastor, back in 1976, I flew out to Washington, DC to visit a dying friend, Bro. Harold Martin. He was one of my deacons. I had the privilege of watching him die in Christ. These are the very last words my friend spoke before losing consciousness: “Preacher, it’s good to come to this point and know that everything’s under the blood.”
In the spring of 1992 my wife, Shelby, and I drove up to Richwood, West Virginia to visit our dear, faithful friend, Bro. Darrell McClung. He was dying with cancer; but he was perfectly at ease. We had a blessed, blessed visit with Darrell and his wife, Betty. Darrell’s last words to me were, “Brother, my hope is in that Man in heaven, whose blood has washed away all of my sins and given me perfect righteousness before God. Thank God for Christ. I thank God for the blood of Christ. I am thankful to know that there is a Man in glory who is my Substitute. My hope is in him!” Yes, for the dying believer, “at evening time it shall be light!”
Then, when this Day of the Lord’s Grace is finished and the Day of the Lord’s Glory is begun, in heaven’s wondrous blessedness, “at evening time it shall be light” forever (Revelation 21:1-5, 22-23, 25; 22:1-5).