“I want to share with you a verse from the Bible that should comfort you – and should comfort me. But it’s a verse that, if I’m really honest, sometimes has troubled me a little bit. I’ve often wondered, “what does this verse actually mean?”
So here’s the verse. It’s Psalm 30 verse 5, and I’m going to read it to you in the King James Version. Because it’s more dramatic! It says this: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning”
It’s a great verse, isn’t it? It’s a verse that we could put on a poster or a Christian calendar! It’s the kind of sentiment that we would sing in a Christian song or hymn.
But when you get down to it, you start to ask yourself: what does this verse actually mean? I mean it’s nice to text it to a friend for their encouragement, but what’s the reality behind this verse? Does it simply mean that every morning I rise as a Christian I’ll have joy in my heart and I’ll be full of the joy of the Lord?
That’s not our experience, is it? Very often we go to bed feeling tired and burdened about things going on in our lives. And then we wake up in the morning and we still feel tired and burdened! I find that particularly at the moment. I wake up and my first thought is: we’re still in the middle of the Co-Vid crisis. And my heart just sinks. So what does this verse mean? How does it apply to me as a Christian? What does it mean to say that in the morning we’re going to experience this great joy?
Well I’ve done a little bit of digging into this verse. And I think I understand a little more of what it actually means. There’s at least three levels at which we can apply this verse.
Firstly, we can apply it to ourselves. You see, in the Bible this idea of night and dawn is really a picture of God bringing us relief when we are in distress. You see that even in the context of the Psalm. That God had brought judgement on his people – his anger was expressed against them in their circumstances – but then God brought relief. It was like the morning dawn. The sun rose in their experience. And so this image of morning joy is really a picture of those times in our lives when God steps in, when he lifts our burdens, when he makes life easier, when he pours out (in a more obvious way) his blessings.
It’s that experience when we’ve been praying about something for a long time, praying for someone to come to faith, praying that some circumstance in our life will change and we pray and we pray and we pray. And then one day God answers. One day there’s that sense of morning joy. So I think this psalm can happen in our experience, but it won’t happen every morning! It’s not to be read in that kind of literal way, but it speaks of those experiences in our lives, when God intervenes in answer to our prayers.
I think those a second level this psalm applies is it applies to the Lord Jesus himself. When we think of Jesus as he hung on the cross, of course we know that he hung there in the darkness. And the darkness was appropriate because it spoke of the judgement of God and it spoke of the fact that there was no relief for Jesus on the cross. That he suffered their in agony for us. He dies there on the cross, he’s buried then in a tomb, and he’s laid there in the darkness of the depths of the earth. And that’s appropriate, isn’t it, because he’s in that place of death, of not enjoying the fulness of life. But on the third day – very interestingly and fittingly, at the dawn in the early morning – the Father raises his Son from the dead. And Jesus exits the darkness into the light of the dawn.
And that’s a wonderful picture of Jesus release from that place of distress, that place of death, as he rises into new life and in a resurrection body. So as we think of joy coming in the morning, as we run up to Easter time, we can think of how Jesus went through that darkness for us. Of how his agony means that we will never face judgement. Let’s allow that to encourage our soul. Let’s think of the fact that he rose in the morning and how that means that we have a great hope ahead of us.
But then the third level at which this verse applies is looking even further ahead than that. Because ultimately this verse – joy in the morning – is fulfilled ultimately in the new creation. Paul describes this age we’re living in as an age of darkness, but he says in one place that the darkness is already passing away. Christ is coming again. He has already come, he’s with us by his Spirit presently, and he’s coming again in future glory. And when he comes the darkness, and all the features of the darkness will be removed and taken away. Sin and sickness, decay and death, will be swept off the table in that new creation. And it’s in that day that in all of its fullness we will experience this morning joy!
So as you read this verse, think not just about those distressing things in your life that you want God to relieve, but think of the Lord Jesus who rose from the dead, and think ultimately of the fact that he’s coming again. He’s coming to bring relief to the sadness of the night. He’s coming to bring eternal joy to each of us.Tweet