Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day goes away…
The Babylonians are represented by the prophet as coming to plunder the Holy City, like flocks being led to their feeding ground. They hurry to the work of destruction, yet they are not speedy enough, for work takes time, and time flees fast away. "Prepare ye war against her: arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away," etc. "Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces." We have no city to destroy, and it is morning; yet, standing, as we do, almost on the threshold of another year, these words are worthy of consideration. The day of opportunity that tills year contained is going away, the shadows of the evening are stretched out. And with the departure of the day and the deepening of the shadows of the night, some among the bravest hearts may well exclaim, "Woe unto us!" For all who are Christ's servants, as they grow in grace, more clearly come to see the great issues of life, the vast importance of the days and months and years which God has given them to spend to His glory. With this clearer sight comes the consciousness of the awful waste of time for which men are answerable, a waste which can never be repaired. True, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin; but only if there he true repentance. As you really understand the cleansing and accept it, so you will grow most earnest in guarding the gift of time.
1. Save time in your work. Surely it is "woe unto us" that we have been so half-hearted often in our time of work; so ready to lay down the task that is difficult, or so ready to do it lazily and badly. The great characters in history are mostly the indefatigable, who, while they worked, worked hard.
2. Save time in your leisure. Do not spend it all in amusement, which excites, but does not profit. If you have your evenings free, use some to the glory of God, by helping children, by showing acts of kindness, by improving your own knowledge.
3. Again, save time on Sundays. How can men's religion be real and true if they spend Sunday mornings in bed?
(W. R. Hutton, M. A.)
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.