I’ve had some wakeful nights recently. There is so much on my mind these days. I wake up at 2:00 and 3:00 AM thinking of church members in the hospital, praying for members with underlying conditions, or problem solving regarding how to lead our ministry through the crises posed by COVID-19. Maybe you can relate.
These short, wakeful nights have had me thinking about the “songs in the night” God gives His people. In particular, I’ve been thinking about two Scripture passages that mention nighttime songs.
The first passage is in the book of Job and speaks of “…God my maker, who giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10).
The other passage was penned by the psalmist Asaph who was going through a night experience of the soul, which included wakeful literal nights as well:
I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.—Psalm 77:1–6
Charles Spurgeon suggested that Asaph’s statement, “I call to remembrance my song in the night,” could have meant, “I will now remember in the past when I felt joy and could sing songs in the night,” or it may have meant, “I will now, in my present affliction, remember God’s comforts.” In either case, it is a reminder to us that God does give songs in the night.
What enables someone to sing in the dark of the night? Why can you sing to the Lord tonight?
1. Because God is present
No matter how dark or oppressive the night may be, we have the absolute promise of God’s presence.
…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.—Hebrews 13:5–6
When we sense God’s presence, we sing for joy; when we don’t sense God’s presence, we sing in faith. He is always with us, and His presence gives a song.When we sense God’s presence, we sing for joy; when we don’t sense God’s presence, we sing in faith. Click To Tweet
2. Because God is purifying our hearts
Many Christians tolerate sin until a trial comes. Even a trial that is not a direct consequence of sin in our lives can bring a tenderness in our hearts to the Lord as we ask God to search our hearts and reveal anything that is displeasing to Him.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.—Psalm 139:23–24
As God purifies our hearts, we see Christ more clearly. As Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” And when we see Jesus, we sing in the night.
3. Because God is strengthening our faith
A faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. When God allows dark, heavy trials in our lives, it purifies and strengthens our faith.
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.—Job 23:10
One day, we will stand before Christ. And how happy we will be to give Him a faith that has been purified and is precious in His sight.One day, we will stand before Christ. How happy we will be to give Him a faith that has been purified and is precious in His sight. Click To Tweet
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ—1 Peter 1:6–7
4. Because our priority is glorifying Christ
When our priority is self-focused (our comfort, promotion, or personal goals), we can’t sing as everything we value is stripped away. But when our priority is knowing and glorifying Christ, we can rejoice when self is decreased and Christ is increased through us.
Without trials, we get our priorities messed up. But when God realigns our focus through a trial, our first priority becomes Him. When our priority is to walk in the Spirit, we can sing a song in the night!
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;—Philippians 3:7–10
5. Because God hears us when we pray
Even the distraught, despairing Asaph of Psalm 77 could sing in the night because he knew that—although he couldn’t sense God’s presence—God did hear his prayers.
I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.—Psalm 77:1
David, in Psalm 34, also rejoiced because God heard his desperate cries for help.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.—Psalm 34:6
In the midst of wakeful nights and dark days, we can rejoice in knowing that God always hears our prayers.
6. Because God is worthy of our praise
Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises in the night from a dungeon jail cell with their backs beaten and their feet chained. Why? Because God was worthy of their praise.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.—Acts 16:25
A side effect of Paul and Silas’ song was the testimony they were to the other prisoners of how great the God they served is!
In fact, there is one ultimate reason that we can sing songs in the night, and His name is Jesus.
Christ not only gives us songs in the night, but He is our song in the night.
Christ not only GIVES us songs in the night, but He IS our song in the night. Click To Tweet
The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.—Psalm 118:14