The Break of Day
2 Samuel 2:32
And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night…

Joab and his men walking all night towards Hebron, and reaching it at break of day. See in this a symbol of the pilgrimage of our earthly life, in what must be as darkness compared with the wondrous light to which we press, but reaching rest at last, yet not till the break of that golden day.

I. ARE WE PILGRIMS OF THE LIGHT, OR OF THE NIGHT? Of both. Of the light as we press to reach it, as even now its beams fall on our pathway here, enlightening much that else might perplex. Yet must that light only make the remaining darkness felt. Is it not of the New Jerusalem that it is written, "There shall be no night there?" Can I say there is no night here — no night of sorrow, no pain, no burden clouding heart and mind? Even when life is brightest with us, the very sense of comfort and joy abides because we know that they have about them a heavenly atmosphere. They are to us God's gifts, and we know that He has in reserve still richer blessings. If we are in sorrow we yearn for God, and in joy we rest still in Him. There is always something before the Christian, a brighter life that is to be. We speak of the night of death. Henry Fawcett used to say that from the great illness which prostrated him for so long, he arose, having learnt, what he had recognised before, that death was not to be feared. Nay, more than this, for we need not speak only of the physical aspects of death: we may learn that in death there is not so much a passing into dark valleys — the valleys of the shadow, at all events, are past when death is reached — as a stepping into wondrous light. Death is an unveiling which lets in light and life to our poor human experience. Let us press on in the pilgrimage, though we walk all the night. There is the appointed path and the allotted time. To few will that time, in God's mercy, seem too long, so full is the night of quiet mercies, so little are we alone. But even if the way seem rough, and the hours dark, the night has its own appointed law and limit. Bear up, press on, and all shall be well.

II. THE PILGRIM SHALL REACH A PLACE OF REST. "And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron." Hebron is one of the most ancient cities of the world still standing. It is now a city of some 5,000 inhabitants. It has had many changes in its political history, and has once and again been in ruins. Abraham is called by the Mohammedans Khulil, "the Friend" — i.e., of God; and this, we are told by travellers, is the modern name of Hebron itself. It is "the city of 'the Friend of God.'" Among our quiet resting-places God not seldom brings us to the places from which we can look back, marking the goodness and mercy which have followed us since that long past when near to the same spot we built with them some altar to the Lord. The Lord accepted the offering of ourselves; through the pilgrimage He has been with us.

III. For notice, lastly, THE REST SHALL BE REACHED AT ITS APPOINTED TIME. "And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day." The eternal morning shall not be missed by any who follow on in the way of the Lord's choosing. Only be brave, be faithful, until the day break, and the shadows flee away. Often the shadows of some trouble or some anxiety pass away even here. New light is on our path; the way of lowly duty is plain. Whenever the day-break is upon us, it is only that we may turn, refreshed by rest, to the duty of the new day.

(J. Gasquoine, B. A.).

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.

WEB: They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.

The Sorrows of Victory
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