Have you ever noticed how God frequently waits until 11:59 to show up? In my experience this seems to be true, yet He is always on time. He stretches my faith as far as it will go. Just when things are as dark as they could be He comes as the "bright Morning Star" to signal the dawn of a new day.
Since the beginning of February, I have been following Chuck Pierce's daily devotional. It is called "21 Breaking of the Day Watch Prayer Focus." He describes the "Breaking of the Day" as the time period from midnight until three in the morning. Midnight is described as the "womb of the dawn" or "turning of the morning." "It is the time when the hours stop moving into darkness and begin moving toward light." It is the time for hope to arise.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is Ruth. The story of Ruth and Naomi demonstrates God's way of starting to redeem and restore at the midnight hour. It takes place during a very dark period of time. Naomi, her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons had to leave their homeland in Bethlehem in Judah due to a severe famine. They went to live in Moab, east of the Dead Sea. Historically, the people of Moab had not treated the Israelites kindly, so we can infer that conditions must have been extremely bleak for them to make this move. The situation became bleaker for Naomi as Elimelech died. In addition, her sons married Moabite women--Ruth being one of them. Then, about 10 years later both of the sons died, leaving Naomi alone.
After hearing that God was providing food for her people, Naomi decided to return home. In a sacrificial act, Ruth accompanied Naomi back to Bethlehem so that she could help to care for her. She told her mother-in-law, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay; Your people will be my people, and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16) Her faithfulness to Naomi set her up for God's favor to be poured upon her. (We should never lose sight of the fact that in this story Ruth represents the Church who is faithful to Israel.)
Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem during the barley harvest, which gave Ruth the opportunity to gather grain that was left behind by the harvesters. She learned that she was gleaning in a field owned by Boaz who was a relative of Elimelech. Hope arose when Naomi discovered where Ruth gleaned. She instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor in the evening and to lie at his feet. "Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet." (Ruth 3:8-NLT)
"Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer," Ruth said to Boaz. (Ruth 3:9) Boaz replied, "I will do for you all you ask." (Ruth 3:11) Here the Lord demonstrated how He does, "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3:20) In their midnight hour--the darkest hour--the Morning Star appeared bringing great hope for the future. Not only did Boaz marry Ruth, but she had a son, the grandfather of King David and part of the family line of our Messiah.
The Lord addresses His Church in the passage found in Revelation 22:16. "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Even when we are in our darkest hour we have hope for a new day. Our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus, is awake at midnight. The "Light of the World" comes to dispel the darkness. When darkness rolls in to try to steal our inheritance and destiny He is standing by, rising in the darkness and setting into place His glorious plan of redemption and restoration. He is faithful; let hope arise!
Joan E. Mathias