I worked at the office until almost 7:30 this evening and then headed home. When I arrived, I ran into the house, changed my clothes and went back out into the yard. You see, I have done some pruning of the bushes around the house and left the raking part of the task until tonight. I got out the trash bags, hand clippers and several other items I needed to complete the work I started earlier in the week. I planned on cleaning up in stages, but I got carried away and soon it was after 9:15 pm. The sun was starting to set and it was that time of the evening when it gets dark pretty quickly.
I was within sight of the completion of my task. Now I was tired, real tired, but I just didn’t want to let it go another day, so I persevered and completed my work as darkness was setting in. I still had to write this post, and I was thinking about how glad I would be to get to the end of the day. But then, a strange thought occurred to me.
You see, we normally think of our day ending in the evening and beginning in the morning, but that’s not the way it works. The Bible is very clear that evening comes before morning, not the other way around. So as I was contemplating the end of the day tonight, I was really experiencing the beginning of a new day! Sounds strange, doesn’t it? In fact, it was an ancient Jewish belief that the day began when the third star came out at night. Now don’t ask me what happened on cloudy nights, because I don’t know.
But Jewish tradition dictates that when you saw the third star come out in the evening, that was the beginning of the new day. And this event was tied to the idea of our faith. Faith was believed to be a gift from God, and we were only given enough faith to sustain us for one day. When the day was over, God would provide us with faith for the next day. Kind of like the manna in the desert after the exodus from Egypt on the way to the Promised Land – we only get enough to get us through the current day.
It was also believed that a person could not increase their allotment of faith on their own. Since faith is a gift from God, it makes sense that you would have to pray for more faith before you actually received it. Therefore, if you would like your faith to be stronger, the best thing to do is to ask God to grant you more faith. Believe me, it’s much better than trying to increase your faith on your own.
So the more I thought about coasting into the end of the day, I was also thinking about the beginning of God’s new day. In the morning, when I awake, my “faith” day will already be half over. How do I know that the day starts in the evening and not in the morning?
Well, that’s our verse for the evening. It’s right near the front of the Bible in Genesis, in the beginning of the creation story. After the creation of the earth, God’s first act was to separate the light from the darkness. We are told in Genesis 1:3-5, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he 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—the first day.” Notice that evening was mentioned before morning? That’s why the Jewish holidays always start at dusk.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants to give you faith – faith in Him. My prayer is that you will exercise your ability to pray to God to increase your faith. After all, it’s something that each of us can use more of – but we never think about asking for it. So, as I realize that I am already several hours into the new day, as always, I wish you a great day in the Lord, as well as grace and peace…