Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dear Pilgrim, is He your song in the night?

Dear Pilgrim, is He your song in the night? Is He the theme of your song both by day and by night? Your spirit longs for Him in the morning – does your soul yearn for Him in the night?

O Pilgrim, how our heart rejoices to sing His praise in response to His great deliverance, in the light of the day! Dawn breaks forth across the land, sending the darkness and shadows scurrying away, and just like Miriam, we take our tambourines and dance before the Lord - “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You – I whom You have delivered” (Psalm 71:23). Just like David, we sing the words of our song when the Lord has delivered us from the hand of our enemies (2 Samuel 22:1). Just like Deborah, we sing a new song to Him in praise of the marvellous things He has done. The songs of the day are glorious! With His light shining on all His creation, the sea resounds and everything in it, the rivers clap their hands, and the mountains sing for joy! Oh, shout for joy all the earth!

Pilgrim, when the evening fades, when darkness closes in, when the terrors of the night come along and your enemies are gathered against you, can your soul still find it within you to sing His praise? Do the songs of Zion continue to tumble from your lips? Or are the joyful tambourines stilled, is the joyful harp silent?

O Pilgrim, let me offer you this encouragement for those times of darkness – it is not you who has to find this song from within. For listen to this great truth – God your Maker is the One who gives songs in the night (Job 35:10)! By day the Lord directs His love – at night His song is with you (Psalm 42:8)! He is the One who will give you a song to sing at this time of great darkness. For it is He who instructed the temple musicians to be responsible for their work both by day and by night (1 Chronicles 9:33). And as the servants of the Lord ministered by night in the house of the Lord, lifting up their hands in the sanctuary and praising the Lord, He blessed them from Zion (Psalm 134:1-3)! The Maker of heaven and earth blessed them from Zion with songs from Zion!

The people of Judah gathered before the Lord at a time of darkness – as a vast army approached them. King Jehoshaphat called out to the Lord from within the darkness: “We have no power to face this vast enemy that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:12-13). The Spirit of the Lord spoke to a descendant of Asaph, whom David had appointed to lead the praise of the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:5), encouraging them to go and face their enemies, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). As they headed out to meet their enemies, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendour of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army. God their Maker gave them songs in the night. And as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against their enemies (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).

Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and thrown into prison, for they had been counted worthy of suffering for the gospel. God their Maker gave them songs in the night. And about midnight, as they prayed and sang hymns to the Lord, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison and loosened their chains (Acts 16:25-26)!

O Pilgrim, think of Him through the watches of the night, meditate on His promises as your eyes stay open through the watches of the night, and as He comes alongside you in the darkness, sing in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:6-7)! As He draws near to you, so near that you reach out and cling to Him, sing for joy on your bed! May the praise of God be in your mouth and a double-edged sword in your hands (Psalm 149:5-6). For as you sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, as you sing psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit (Ephesians 5:19), you are holding a sword in your hands (Ephesians 6:17). And He will use this sword to defeat your enemies – for “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” says the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6). The darkness will pass, and the light will return.

O Pilgrim, sing praises to the Lord! Sing praises in the Valley of Berakah, in the Valley of Praise (2 Chronicles 20:26)! The whole earth is filled with awe at His wonders, for where morning dawns, and where evening fades, He calls forth songs of joy (Psalm 65:8)!