Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day goes away…
I. THE FACT HERE INDICATED. The day glides imperceptibly away, from morning to noon, from noon to eve. Does not this strikingly typify our life in this world? Do not our years glide on like the minutes and hours of the natural day? And, ere ever we are aware, do we not perceive that the shadows are lengthening? Are we not reminded of the flight of time by many things which we see around us? The old men, with whose slow step we were familiar, are disappearing from the scene; those whom we knew in their prime now bear the marks of age. But does not this suggest to us one particular in which the analogy between the natural day and our human life signally fails? We know the very hour, we can ascertain the very minute, when the sun will set. But how different is it with the life of man? Who can tell when, in any individual case, that life shall end? Who but He who knows the end from the beginning, and who is the God of our lives and the length of our days? But whether the period of our sojourn upon earth be brief or protracted, it is quickly passing away. Whether we are to be cut down when the shadows have stretched out far, or while they are yet comparatively short, in the case of every one of us they are lengthening; and in the case of not a few, it approaches eventide, and their sun declines to its setting. But surely there arises here another question. When the day declines and nightfall comes, what then? "After death the judgment." Death does not reduce us to nothingness, but detaches us from time to land us in eternity. It places us before the tribunal of the Most High to receive the sentence which is to fix unchangingly our final doom. "We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
II. WHAT EFFECT THE CONSIDERATION OF THIS FACT SHOULD HAVE UPON US.
1. It should have this effect, to impress us with the solemn and abiding conviction that it is a fact. We are ever prone to take it for granted that though the end of life is no doubt approaching, it is still distant from us; that though the duration of life is very uncertain to men generally, and to our friends and neighbours around us, we are much less likely to be suddenly removed, and may reassuredly count upon a protracted span being afforded to us is a strange and subtle delusion of the human heart, and sedulously fostered by the enemy of souls, the father of lies. How needful to learn and lay to heart the lesson here taught; how needful to be thoroughly persuaded that it is a solemn fact that our life is a vapour which appears for a little time and then vanishes away; that not with respect to our fellow men merely, but with respect to ourselves also, the days of earth are drawing to a close, and that to any one of us the end may come very soon and very suddenly!
2. But, further, it is of the last importance that we not only really believe this fact, but that we give practical effect to the belief. What are your resolutions for the future? Will you be stirred up to greater diligence and devotedness ere your sun go down! And if you, if any of you, are still far from God, living in carelessness and unbelief, will you not take warning by the lengthening shadows to make your peace with God ere it be too late?
(P. Hope, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.