Imagine yourself as a night watchman in ancient Israel. The night is barren, cold, lifeless. There’s no one to talk to, nothing to pass the time, no comfortable place to sit, just hard cobblestones to pace alone in the darkness. It’s been a long shift, and your feet are killing you. You’ve been up for hours guarding the town, serving your people, and you are completely exhausted. Drained. Parched. Aching for relief. Your eyes ache from staring at the horizon, earnestly seeking that first glimpse of dawn. Experience has taught you exactly where to look, precisely where the first light will appear, and you don’t dare look away. You don’t even blink, afraid you might miss the first glimmer of light. Minutes pass like hours, until finally you spy the first rosy hint of sunrise in the east. Dawn suddenly breaks, glorious and bright! Morning has come! You sigh in grateful weariness: your long night of toil is over, the city is safe, and you can go home.
That’s the scene I had in mind when I read this verse. It speaks of longing for God more than a watchman does for the morning… and I imagine the watchman of those days longed pretty earnestly for daybreak. It would have been the at the forefront of their minds, especially those last few hours before dawn, when they were fighting sleep and feeling every bit of the cold, lonely darkness. By the end of their shift, they would focused entirely on waiting for the first glimmer of sunrise. What a mental image for how we ought to be looking for the Lord, and hoping in Him!
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6 ESV
This piece was more about setting the contextual scene, than about doing something fancy with the text. I needed to convey that feeling of sunrise, so I picked up my favorite digital alcohol ink brushes and tried the same techniques I’ve used to create night sky scenes (minus the stars, of course). I wanted to create the illusion of sunrise, with its fractured hues and kaleidescope of colors filling the world.
Look at the image again, and picture the fresh colors of a brand new day. Imagine the light refracting and reflecting on the clouds in so many shades of orange and pink and yellow. Feel the warmth of sunrise on your face, and let its promise of newness wash over you. The night has been long, but day is now here! Feel the joy of a promise fulfilled!
Once the design felt complete, I added the text. I picked a dark orange shade from the sunrise colors, and decided to letter the verse in a loose script style to keep the feeling of freedom that a fresh day brings. I wanted the words to feel like part of the scene, to draw your eyes in toward the center of the piece just like we’re drawn to look towards the sun in the morning tableau.
I love how the piece came together, and I think it really conveys the fresh hope of sunrise! But I’d love to know what you think, too.
What image comes to your mind when reading this verse? Let me know in the comments!