The Hind of the Dawn

As the two disciples walked on the road to Emmaus, the Lord Jesus expounded to them ‘in all the scriptures the things concerning himself’, Luke 24. 27. In John chapter 5 verse 39, speaking of all of the Old Testament, He said, ‘they are they which testify of me’. When the Spirit of God illuminates our minds to understand, doubtless something of the person and work of Christ can be seen on every page of scripture.

In Botany: He is ‘the Root of David’, Rev. 5. 5; ‘a rod out of the stem of Jesse’, Isa. 11. 1; ‘the man whose name is ‘The Branch’, Zech. 6. 12; ‘the true vine’, John 15. 1; ‘a plant of renown’, Ezek. 34. 29.

In Astronomy: He is ‘the Sun of righteousness’ - in relation to His coming for Israel’s salvation, Mal. 4. 2; ‘the bright and morning star’ - in relation to His coming for His church at the rapture, Rev. 22. 16.

In Geology: He is ‘that spiritual Rock’, 1 Cor. 10. 4; ‘the rock of ages’, Isa. 26. 4 JND; ‘a living stone’, 1 Pet. 2. 4; ‘for a foundation a stone’, Isa. 28. 16.

In Zoology: He is ‘a lamb’, Isa. 53. 7; ‘the Lion of the tribe of Juda’, Rev. 5. 5; ‘a red heifer’, Num. 19. 2; ‘the scapegoat’, Lev. 16. 8, 10, 26.

The name we will now consider is found in the inspired title of Psalm 22: Aijeleth Shahar - The hind of the dawn.

The birth of the hind

In Job chapters 38 to 41, the Lord asked Job more than seventy questions to emphasize to him the limitations of his knowledge. There were three questions relating to the birth of the hind.

  • ‘Canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?’ 39. 1.
  • ‘Canst thou number the months that they fulfil?’ v. 2.
  • ‘Knowest thou the time when they bring forth?’ v. 2.

These were questions which Job could not answer. How it speaks to us of One of whom we read, ‘great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh’, 1 Tim. 3. 16. The incarnation of Christ is clearly affirmed in scripture, and we believe it, even though it is beyond our understanding. Adam came by creation; we were born by generation; the Lord Jesus came into the world by incarnation. We bow in wonder as we read the words of Gabriel to Mary, ‘that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God’, Luke 1. 35. It has rightly been said, ‘In Bethlehem God was not born, but the one who was born was God; and at Calvary God did not die, but the one who died was God’.

The hind growing up

In Job chapter 39 verse 4, we read of the young hind growing up. Isaiah, in his prophecy, speaks of the Lord Jesus growing up, ‘he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground’, 53. 2. In the midst of the thorns and thistles of this sinful world, there grew up a tender plant, exquisite in its beauty, emitting a fragrance that ascended to heaven, bringing infinite pleasure to the heart of God.

Luke records, ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man’, Luke 2. 52. During the years preceding His public ministry, very little is revealed. These are sometimes referred to as ‘the silent years’. During those years there was One whose eye was continually upon Him, observing His childhood, His boyhood, and His manhood, and from the opened heavens God’s voice was heard, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’, Matt. 3. 17.

The hind - surefooted

The hind moves with grace and agility and is able to climb safely to high mountain crags, and traverse rugged terrain that is inaccessible to other animals. Writing about his own experience, David said, ‘He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet … Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip’, Ps. 18. 33, 36.

Isaiah wrote, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way’, 53. 6. There was only one person who was gloriously unique, in that every step He took in this world was in the will of God and in perfect harmony with God. He alone could say, ‘And he that hath sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him’, John 8. 29.

Peter in his Epistle wrote, ‘Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps’, 1 Pet. 2. 21. We could never follow in His steps; we could never walk perfectly as He walked, but we should endeavour to follow His steps. The sum of the Master’s teaching to His disciples condensed to a few words would be, ‘Follow me’.

Peter spoke about the ‘footsteps of the shepherd’, cp. 1 Pet. 2. 21 and 2. 25, and Solomon spoke about the ‘footsteps of the flock’, S. of S. 1. 8. May we be able to say, like the psalmist, ‘For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living’, Ps. 116. 8, 9.

The hind forsaken

Jeremiah wrote of a severe drought that completely dried up the pasture. The hind calved in the field but then did what was contrary to its nature; it forsook its young, because there was no grass, Jer. 14. 5. At Calvary, the central saying of the seven sayings from the cross was, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Matt. 27. 46. This was the first of two sayings which were spoken with a loud voice. It was a heart-rending cry which pierced the darkness that had enveloped the scene at the sixth hour. Peter had denied Him, Judas had betrayed Him, the disciples had forsaken Him and fled; but all through His life on earth He had enjoyed unbroken communion with His Father. But now He is forsaken by God on the cross.

In the context of Psalm 22, the tender, defenceless hind is surrounded by ferocious beasts: the bulls of Bashan, v. 12; dogs, v. 16; the lion, v. 21. These refer to human and infernal foes all arrayed against Christ, but the psalm commences with the heart cry of the lonely sufferer, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ v. 1.

Believers remember with gratitude that He was forsaken, that we might never be forsaken; He was rejected, that we might be accepted; He went outside the city, that we might be brought to the inside of heaven; He suffered, that we might not suffer; He died, that we might live. How wonderful that the Christian can live day by day in the enjoyment of His unfailing promise, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’, Heb. 13. 5.

The hind loosed

In Jacob’s prophecy concerning his sons, he said of his tenth son, ‘Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words’, Gen. 49. 21.

The same word is used by Peter on the Day of Pentecost, referring to the resurrection of Christ, ‘Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it’, Acts 2. 24. He is loosed for ever from the domain of death, ‘knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him’, Rom. 6. 9.

He is the invincible Christ; Herod could not kill Him, Satan could not defeat Him, death could not destroy Him, the grave could not hold Him. Death had no claim whatever on the sinless Son of God. He was the only one who ever lived over whom death had no claim; yet of His own will He could say, ‘I lay it [His life] down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’, John 10. 18.

Jacob said of Naphtali, ‘He giveth goodly words’. How precious are the words spoken by the Saviour between His resurrection and His ascension.

The hind in high places

The hind has a particular ability to climb to great heights. David wrote, ‘He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places’, Ps. 18. 33. The One who was given the lowest place on earth, when ‘Herod with his men of war set him at nought’, Luke 23. 11, now occupies the highest place in heavenly glory.

The prophecy in Isaiah has been fulfilled, ‘he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high’, 52. 13. The three words here rise in an ascending scale, each word rising higher than the preceding one: raised up; lifted up; exalted.

Where is the Lord Jesus at this moment?

Paul answers, ‘Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come’, Eph. 1. 21.

Peter answers, ‘Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him’, 1 Pet. 3. 22.

How amazing to remember that at this moment, far above the sky, He appears ‘in the presence of God for us’, Heb. 9. 24. He is our Advocate with the Father, our Intercessor, and our Great High Priest.

The hind of the dawn

Christ, as the hind of the dawn, reminds us that the morning is approaching when our Lord will come. ‘The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart … Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether’, S. of S. 2. 8, 9, 17.

When a believer dies, scripture speaks of them as ‘those who have fallen asleep through Jesus’, 1 Thess. 4. 14 JND. He causes them to sleep, and, in the morning, He will call them to awake at His coming. Awaiting that glorious morning, the body sleeps, while the soul and spirit are with Christ in the conscious enjoyment of His presence. A beautiful picture of this awakening is seen in John chapter 11. When Lazarus died the Lord Jesus said, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep’, v. 11.

‘The night is far spent, the day is at hand’, Rom. 13. 12. It will be a morning without tears, Ps. 30. 5; ‘a morning without clouds’, 2 Sam. 23. 4; a daybreak without shadows, S. of S. 2. 17.

May a consideration of this sevenfold view of Christ as the hind of the dawn draw out our hearts further to our beloved Lord.

‘I am waiting for the dawning
Of that bright and glorious day,
When the darksome night of sorrow
Shall have vanished far away.
When forever with the Saviour,
Far beyond this vale of tears,
I shall swell the hymn of worship
Through the everlasting years’.


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