Darkness Before the Dawn
Songs 2:17
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be you like a roe or a young hart on the mountains of Bether.

The spouse sings, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away," so that the beloved of the Lord may be in the dark. A child of God, who is a child of light, may be for a while in darkness; first, darkness comparatively, as compared with the light he has sometimes enjoyed, for days are not always equally bright. Yes, and he may be in positive darkness. It may be very black with him, and he may be obliged to cry, "I see no signs of returning day," Sometimes, neither sun nor moon appears for a long season to cheer the believer in the dark. This may arise partly through sickness of body. But yet it can be only temporary darkness. The same text which suggests night promises dawn: "Until the day break," etc.

I. First of all, let us consider OUR PROSPECT. Our prospect is, that the day will break, and that the shadows will flee away. We may read this passage ill many ways, and apply it to different cases. Think, first, of the child of God wire is full of doubt. He is afraid that, after all, his supposed conversion was not a true one, and that he has proved it to be false by his own misbehaviour. He is afraid, I scarcely know of what, for so many fears crowd in upon him. His eyes are looking toward the cross, and somehow he has a hope, if not quite a persuasion, that he will find light in Christ, where so many others have found it. I would encourage that hone till it becomes a firm conviction and a full expectation. The day will break for you, dear mourner, the shadows will yet flee away. This expression is equally applicable when we come into some personal sorrow not exactly of a spiritual kind. I know that God's children are not long without tribulation. As long as the wheat is on the threshing-floor, it must expect to feel the flail. Perhaps you have had a bereavement, or you may have had losses in business, or crosses in your family, or you have been sorely afflicted in your own body, and now you are crying to God for deliverance out of your temporal trouble. That deliverance will surely come. Yes, in the darkest of all human sorrows there is the glad prospect that the day will break, and the shadows will flee away. This is the case again, I believe on a grander scale, with reference to the depression of religion at the present time. We want — I cannot say how much we want — a revival of pure and undefiled religion in this our day. Will it come? Why should it not come? If we long for it, if we pray for it, if we believe for it, if we work for it, and prepare for it, it will certainly come. The day will break, and the shadows will flee away. I believe that this is to be the case also in this whole world. It is still the time of darkness, it is still the hour of shadows. I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, and I cannot foretell what is yet to happen in the earth; it may be that the darkness will deepen still more, and that the shadows will multiply and increase; but the Lord will come. That glorious advent shall end our weary waiting days, it shall end our conflicts with infidelity and priestcraft, it shall put an end to all our futile endeavours; and when the great Shepherd shall appear in His glory, then shall every faithful under-shepherd and all his flock appear with him, and then shall the day break, and the shadows flee away.

II. Now consider our POSTURE, "until the day break, and the shadows flee away." We are here, like soldiers on guard, waiting for the dawn. It is night, and the night is deepening; how shall we occupy ourselves until the day break, and the shadows flee away? Well, first, we will wait in the darkness with patient endurance as long as God appoints it. Whatever of shadow is yet to come, whatever of cold damp air and dews of the night is yet to fall upon us, we will bear it. What next are we to do until the day break? Why, let there be hopeful watching. Keep your eyes towards the East, and look for the first grey sign of the coming morning. Then, further, while we maintain patient endurance and hopeful watching, let us give each other mutual encouragement. What further should we do in the dark? Well, one of the best things to do in the dark is to stand still and keep our place. We are not going to plunge on in a reckless manner, we mean to look before we leap; and as it is too dark to look, we will not leap, but will just abide here hard by the cross, battling with every adversary of the truth as long as we have a right hand to move in the name of the Almighty God, "until the day break, and the shadows flee away. What else ought we to do. Keep up a careful separateness from the works of darkness that are going on all around us. If it seems dark to you, gather up your skirts, and gird up your loins. The more sin abounds in the world, the more ought the Church of God to seek after the strictest holiness.

III. Now notice OUR PETITION: "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved," etc. I am not going to preach about that part of our text, but only just to urge you to turn it into prayer. "Turn to me, O my Beloved, for Thou hast turned away from me, or from Thy Church, Turn again, I beseech Thee, Pardon my lukewarmness, forgive my indifference. Turn to me again, my Beloved. O Thou Husband of my soul, if I have grieved Thee, and Thou hast hidden Thy face from me, turn again unto me! Smile Thou, for then shall the day break, and the shadows flee away. Come to me, my Lord, visit me once again." Put up that prayer, beloved. The prayer of the spouse is in this poetic form: "Come over the mountains of division." As we look out into the darkness, what little light there is appears to reveal to us Alp upon Alp, mountain upon mountain, and our Beloved seems divided from us by all these hills. Now our prayer is, that He would come over the top of them; we cannot go over the top of them to Him, but He can come over the top of them to us, if He think fit to do so. Like the hinds' feet, this blessed Hind of the morning can come skipping over the hills with utmost speed to visit and to deliver us.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

WEB: Until the day is cool, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart on the mountains of Bether.

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