Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day goes away…
The old year is dying, the new year is about to commence. And whether the past has been wasted, or redeemed and used for God; whether the work of the past has been done or left undone, still there is a work for all of us. Each day and each year brings its own proper duties, and our conscience needs to be awakened and stirred to the right performance of them. The day goeth away. And you feel that there is something solemn about this passing from one year to another.
1. Some of you are anxious about your spiritual condition. Take the past year as a whole, and perhaps you may be able to hope that some progress has been made. But it has not been all progress. The picture has its dark side. You have had your temptations, you have had your troubles and annoyances; and you have been forced to see how weak your strength is, how poor your best resolutions, how much you have fallen short of what you had intended a year ago. The day goeth away. But if the past has not been what you wished, must you therefore give up in despair? Nay, you may be thankful if you have advanced at all. You could have made no way whatever but for the grace of God. Believe that He who has been with you hitherto will enable you to live more and more to your Master's glory.
2. Again, the close of the year may suggest its thoughts to those who, as our fellow labourers in the schools, or among the sick and destitute, are trying to do the Lord's work, and to be a blessing to their neighbours in their generation. You look back over the year that is gone, and there are abundant reasons for regret. Opportunities for good have been lost which never will come back again. Some one was lying ill, and you knew of the illness, but you delayed your visit. You would go tomorrow: you had other things to do today. And tomorrow you went, but it was too late. Death had come before you. Or again, you might have taken a bolder and firmer course, had your zeal for God been stronger. You saw some evil done, and you did not protest against it. You heard ill-natured words, and you did not try to check them. You might have spoken for God, and you cowardly held your peace. Yet all has not been failure. Feel as painfully as we may our weakness and want of faith, still we may see and thankfully acknowledge the evident signs of God's presence with His people here.
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.