“I love them that love me; and those who seek me early shall find me.” (Prov. 8:17)
“The early bird catches the worm.” So goes the old adage. But I heard about a little boy whose response was, “Well…I ate one once; and he can have it!” J But it is true, though, early is always more to be praised than late. And the Word of God bears this out. We read of God Himself moving to action “early” in Psalm 46:5 as well as multiple places in Jeremiah. And David told God, “…early will I seek thee” (Psl. 63:1). All of us know what it is to be too late, but some things in life are always deserving of immediate attention. Here are four.
First, and foremost, it’s never too early to give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s possible to make a half-hearted profession of faith at any age; and it’s just as possible to make a whole-hearted decision to accept God’s gift of salvation at any age. Our older son, who is fifty-three, traces his personal commitment to Christ to the tender age of four; and I was nine when I finally (yes, finally), after a long period of conviction of sin, asked Jesus to save me. Those who begin their walk with the Lord at an early age have the unique advantage of the help of the Holy Spirit in those formative years when habits, discipline, and general knowledge are being formed. It’s priceless.
Second, it’s never too early to seek God in trials (…in their affliction they will seek me early” Hos. 5:15). Long before we pick up the phone or seek out a friend, we should seek the face of God. He saw that trial coming and has made every provision for our sustaining grace as long as you need it. As the Psalmist said, he is “a very present help in trouble” (46:1). He was there first, and so should you be.
Third, it’s never too early to seek God when you’re tempted. Before you say, “No” to sin, you should say, “Yes” to Him. By this I mean, before you exercise your will, add the force of Omnipotence behind it. Acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life, then take the shield of faith, “wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). When it comes to sin, God always makes a way of escape, and the time to seek it is early.
Last, but by no means least, it’s always best to seek the face of God early in the day. I realize, in today’s 24-hour life cycle, early means different things to different people. For those forced to stay awake for one reason or another through the night, early may be one o’clock in the afternoon. Those women who came to the tomb early in the morning were the first to see the risen Lord. For most of us, once the day’s routine has started, there is precious little time to steal away for uninterrupted fellowship with God in prayer and the pages of His Word. I have made it a habit for many years now to begin my adoration of Him as soon as my eyes open. I can continue my quiet time soon after, sitting in my rocking chair with a cup of tea nearby, but I want my first thoughts and words to be praise to Him. These words of great Bible pastor and teacher, Joseph Parker (1830-1902) say it far more eloquently than I ever could:
This is the image of the text [Prov. 8:17]: They that seek me in the dawn shall find me; they that seek me at daybreak; they that come after me ere the dew be risen shall find me, and we shall have a long morning talk together: when the soul is young, when the life is free, when the heart is unsophisticated, they that seek me in the dawn shall find me, for I have been waiting for them, yea, standing by them whilst they were sleeping, and hoping that at the moment of awaking they would see me, and exclaim, Blessed Spirit, take charge of my poor, frail life all the day, and tell me what I ought to do. Fool is he who begins the day prayerlessly, who takes his own life into his own hand; verily in doing so he puts his money into bags with holes in them, and at night he shall have nothing.