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The Day Will Have Its Twelve Hours
"Every man has his twelve working hours of life." - Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"God has marked out beforehand the length of the life." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"Life is the time to fulfill the will of God, and to prepare for glory." - Adam Clarke
"This is a call to confidence. Be not afraid to go at the summons of duty, in spite of snare, terror, accident, or infection. The day will have its twelve hours." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"Use well your time, longer or shorter, and the hours shall be twelve, and the component hour shall have its constituent moments sure." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"Jesus is the light of the world; he that walks in His Spirit; and by His direction, cannot stumble - cannot fall into sin, nor be surprised by an unexpected death. But he who walks in the night, in the darkness of his own heart, and according to the maxims of this dark world, he stumbles - falls into sin, and at last falls into hell." - Adam Clarke
In John 11:9-10, the Lord Jesus said - "...Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him."
Here we have Him contrasting a man "walking in the day" with a man "walking in the night." The one "walking in the day" does not stumble, whereas the one "walking in the night" stumbles and the explanation given for this is - "because there is no light in him."
At first glance, these two verses seem to be self-explanatory. Everyone knows that there are twelve hours in the daytime and twelve hours considered to be nighttime. The Jews in particular divided their day into twelve equal parts - starting at sunrise and ending at sunset. In the daytime, when the "light of the world" - the sun - is shining brightly, it is easy to see the path ahead. Any obstacles or dangers can be readily avoided or any snares or stumbling blocks along the way easily detected - keeping the traveler from stumbling. On the other hand, during the night hours, the path is dark and the perils ahead are not quickly seen - causing the traveler to stumble and fall.
But, was Jesus just speaking of the obvious here, or did He have a deeper meaning behind His words?
We find the answer to that question in the verse prior to this discussion - "His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest thou thither again?"(John 11:8).
Jesus was walking on dangerous soil as He headed back to Judea. The disciples knew that. Yet, He was not troubled in the least. How is that?
His explanation came forth in His discussion about a man "walking in the day" versus the man "walking in the night." Now, we see that He had a much deeper meaning behind His words than the obvious.
Jesus was not talking about the twelve hour day as we know it. He was referring to a man's life as being twelve hours long. In this twelve hour span of time, he is given a duty to fulfill - a limited amount of opportunity...the capacity of good...and an allotted time to live and do the Father's will - during which the light lasts and work can be done before the "night" or death comes. Work must be accomplished during this time span. Hence, he finds that each hour is brimming over with work.
When He referred to this man "walking in the day," He was talking with a spiritual sense in mind. This particular man works under the "light" of God's Word. He takes it as a rule for his life. It is a faithful guide and a powerful guard. He also strictly follows God's will for his life. He has a mandate from Him to fulfill. He does everything he can to stay within the bounds of his duty - for he knows that the moment he gets distracted onto another path, he is sure to "stumble."
The dangers or obstacles of vain amusements and the eager pursuits of trifles lie along the path. But the imperative duty - undertaken at the call of his Father - keeps him safe. As long as he continues on this path - from proper motives and "a single eye"(Matthew 6:22) - his course lies clearly before him with the goal in sight.
It is when he allows Self or the popularity of man to cause him to evade his duty that he enters into the "night" and falls into the danger of stumbling. He walks in the way of his heart...after the sight of his eyes...according to the course of this world...while consulting his own carnal reasonings more than the will of God. It is then that he has no "light" from God and Providence no longer protects him. Spiritual darkness sets in and he becomes a sure target for his enemies.
Jesus had no fear of entering Judea again. He knew that He had "twelve hours" given to Him by the Father to accomplish His will. Nothing or no one was going to be able to stop Him from doing so - as long as He stayed focused on the duty set before Him.
O Saint of God, you, too, have been given "twelve hours" in order to fulfill the call of God on your life.
Just where do you suppose you are in those "twelve hours"?
Some may be starting out on Hour #1. Others may be halfway through their life. Whereas, others may be reaching the "twelfth" hour.
Let me correct an erroneous thought that may be passing through your mind at this time. You may be young - physically speaking - and think that surely you have a long way to go before the "night" or death approaches. Nothing could be further than the truth!
You may be reading this message and be twenty-five or even forty years old and according to God's Time Table, you are about to hit Hour #12 for your life. And then again, you may be fifty or sixty years old and only be halfway through your time clock. You still have six more hours of opportunity and available time to do the will of God.
Remember - Jesus was only given thirty-three years on this earth in His "twelve" hour day. And it is interesting to note that the first thirty years of that time were years of preparation.
Some questions you must ask yourself are - What am I doing with my time? Am I doing the Father's will? Am I performing the duty that He has assigned me?
Only those who are walking according to His Word and plan for their life can have the assurance that no harm will befall them or no danger will cause them to stumble along the way. No man or devil can kill them - for God is not finished with them yet. They still have several hours in the "day" to work. It is only at the finish of the "twelfth" hour when "night" or death will be allowed to come.
Jesus knew that the Father's will for His life was not finished yet. He had to go to the Cross. Hence, He had no fear in entering Judea for the second time - even though danger was all around.
As long as you are following after the Lord and His will for your life and busily doing your assigned duty, you can "tread where angels dare not tread" and still remain safe and secure.
Your life has "twelve hours."
Whatever you do, don't take this message lightly.
Get busy, for "the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4).
May God Bless His Word.