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Waken the dawn

My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my soul! Wake up, O harp and lyre! I will waken the dawn with my song. — Psalm 57:7-8

After a long, lonely night in a dark, dank cave, nothing lifts the spirits more than the dawning of a new day. Darkness gives way to light, and the sun peers over the horizon then bursts into blinding sight. Birds strike up a new dawn chorus, rejoicing in the fresh start of another day. Beauty, warmth, brightness, and hope banish the fear and uncertainty of the dark night.

Such an experience inspired David to write this psalm (Psalm 57). David’s enemy, Saul, and 3,000 special troops (see 1 Samuel 24:2) were hunting David like “fierce lions who greedily devour human prey” (Psalm 57:4). In the dim recesses of the cave, David had found cold and comfortless shelter, yet he greeted the dawn with a song (57:8). As he told the Lord, he had learned from bitter experience in similar circumstances to “hide beneath the shadow of [God’s] wings until this violent storm is passed” (57:1).

When all seemed lost, David focused on “God who will fulfill his purpose for me” (57:2). When Saul’s treachery and insane jealousy made David’s life one long night of misery, the fugitive psalmist reminded himself, “My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness” (57:3). And when David considered his precarious situation, he stated, “My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises!” (57:7).

A thousand years after this psalm was written, David’s greatest descendant lay in a dark, dank cave—a tomb, in fact. Jesus had been surrounded by “lions” who had roared for his destruction, whose bitter lies and wicked accusations had torn into His soul “like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords” (57:4). Jesus had suffered the “violent storm” of crucifixion until finally, confidently, He cried out, “Father I entrust my spirit into your hands” (Luke 23:46).

The lions thought they had succeeded in “devouring” Jesus’ human flesh. They had succeeded in killing him. But on the Sunday morning after the dark weekend, “as the new day was dawning” (Matthew 28:1), there was a great earthquake, the stone guarding the tomb rolled away, and Jesus rose again from the dead. From that day to this, David’s prayer—“May your glory shine over all the earth” (Psalm 57:511)—has been gloriously fulfilled. When Jesus rose again, He banished the darkness of death and flooded our future with the light of hope.

The one who sits shivering in his cave should greet each dawn with a song and a prayer—a song of praise and a prayer that, during this day, the Lord will be “exalted above the highest heavens” (57:5, 11).

For further study: Psalm 57

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.