Isaiah 21 … Consider Him Who Commands the Morning and Night

One keeps calling to me from Seir,
“Watchman, how far gone is the night?
Watchman, how far gone is the night?”
12 The watchman says,
“Morning comes but also night.
If you would inquire, inquire;
Come back again,”
(21:11-12).

The Night in Scripture is sometimes used as a figurative reference to the darkness of despondency and suffering; that place of desperately waiting for light to shine again, longing to see the Morning come.

Night: “3915. לַיְלָה laylāh,  לָיִלָ lāyilā,  לַיִל layil: A masculine noun meaning night, midnight. This Hebrew word primarily describes the portion of day between sunset and sunrise… Figuratively, it signifies the gloom or despair that sometimes engulfs the human heart from an absence of divine guidance…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

And Night is also used as an expression of God’s judgment.

Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray…
“Therefore it will be night for you—without vision,
And darkness for you—without divination.
The sun will go down on the prophets,
And the day will become dark over them,”
(Micah 3:5-6).

I’ve often wondered if in Isaiah’s day, weren’t there any who had not turn aside from following God? True, their culture had become steeped in corruption and idolatry, but wasn’t there a remnant who still longed for God’s Ways, His Works and His Word? Now I know God says, “all of us like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6); and that apart from saving faith in Jesus Christ we are without hope.

remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, (Ephesians 21:12-13).

But Hebrews 11 speaks of saving faith before the covenant promise of God was fulfilled in Christ; it speaks of those who looked forward in faith, convinced that God would provide the promise of redemption for their salvation. So, again I wondered, weren’t there others, besides Isaiah, who believed?

Isaiah’s ministry continued throughout four kings of Judah. Scripture’s commentary regarding these four kings helped to answer my wondering.

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah,(Isaiah 1:1).

And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah. He built Eloth and restored it to Judah after the king slept with his fathers. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jechiliah of Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him, (2 Chronicles 26:1-5).

Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done; however he did not enter the temple of the Lord. But the people continued acting corruptly, (2 Chronicles 27:1-2).

Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do right in the sight of the Lord as David his father had done. But he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel; he also made molten images for the Baals. Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel, (2 Chronicles 28:1-3).

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them, (2 Chronicles 27:1-2).

So while none were perfect (for none can be), only one, Ahaz, was completely and utterly corrupt and evil. The other three “did right in the sight of the Lord.”

But still the Night came. And sometimes, as God disciplines a nation, the Night comes on those who are still seeking Him in faith. After all, Isaiah himself was also in the midst of it all.

And when we find ourselves in the Night, there is a question we’ve all asked while hoping and watching for that light at the end of the tunnel. How much longer will this last?

…“Watchman, how much longer until morning?
When will the night be over?”
(21:11 NLT).

And when the Night lingers, the darkness threatens to overshadow our hope for Light.

“When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came,” (Job 30:26).

Therefore justice is far from us,
And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness,
For brightness, but we walk in gloom, (Isaiah 55:9).

And that is when we must remember that God is the One Who Commands the Morning and Night.

Consider Him Who Commands the Morning and Night

  • He Speaks His Command, and there is Morning and there is Night.
    • Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day, (Genesis 1:3-5).
  • He Commands the Morning and Night in their duration and appointed time.
    • For His anger is but for a moment,
      His favor is for a lifetime;
      Weeping may last for the night,
      But a shout of joy comes in the morning,
      (Psalm 30:5).
  • He Commands the Morning and Night that all would know He is the One and Only God.
    • That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
      That there is no one besides Me.
      I am the Lord, and there is no other,
      The One forming light and creating darkness,
      Causing well-being and creating calamity;
      I am the Lord who does all these,”
      (Isaiah 45:6-7).
  • He Commands the Morning and Night to bring His light and His glory upon His people.
    • “Arise, shine; for your light has come,
      And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
      “For behold, darkness will cover the earth
      And deep darkness the peoples;
      But the Lord will rise upon you
      And His glory will appear upon you.
      “Nations will come to your light,
      And kings to the brightness of your rising,”
      (Isaiah 60:1-3).
  • He Commands the Morning and Night that we would have Life in Him.
    • This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God,” (John 3:19-21).

How do we respond to Him Who Commands the Morning and Night?

The future of His enemy is declared. Babylon would fall and her gods would be shattered and proven worthless.

“Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.”
And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground,”
(21:9).

But Babylon also represents the spiritual enemy of God and His people, steeped in pride that raises itself against the knowledge of God, ever seeking to thwart the plan of God and wreak havoc on His Kingdom. This ultimate enemy of God will also be shattered and her weakness put on public display when she falls and is completely annihilated.

 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird, (Revelation 18:1-2).

God must and will judge sin, all sin, whether it be the sin of unbelief or the sin of disobedience. For those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, we are no longer under His judgment against the sin of unbelief.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God,” (John 3:19-21).

However, because He is a Faithful Father, there will be times when we must go through the Night of His discipline.

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights,
(Proverbs 3:11-12).

And sometimes there will be seasons of Night because we live in a fallen world; but in those seasons, Jesus has promised us His peace.

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world,” (John 16:33 HCSB).

And sometimes we go through the Night because we are at war with the spiritual forces of darkness.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 6:12).

And while it may be a normal reaction to ask how much longer, let us choose to trust and praise Him, even in the Night; for He is the God of our salvation, the One Who Commands the Morning and the Night.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places,
(Habakkuk 3:17-19).

As we wait for Him, let us wait in faith. While we will not know when the Night will be over, we can rest in His promise for our future and in the Truth that He Commands the Morning and Night.

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning,
(Psalm 30:5).

So let us live as His children of Light, in obedience and ready for the day when He will Command the Night away and we shall forever live in the Light of Him Who Commands the Morning and Night.

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober, (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever, (Revelation 22:5).

Let’s Grow Together!

2 thoughts on “Isaiah 21 … Consider Him Who Commands the Morning and Night

Leave a Reply to pt Cancel reply