Meditation on Psalm 119:55-56
I remember Your Name in the night, O Lord, and keep Your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept Your precepts.
In the Bible there are over 300 references to the word night. Most are literal, but some suggest there is a deeper meaning that can have spiritual significance. In Jesus’ parable about the “Rich Fool” in Luke 12, we can picture a man who has so much wealth, he has to build bigger barns. Now it’s time to retire and so his plans are to “eat, drink and be merry.” This man was foolish because he gave no thought about God or Eternity. In the story, the voice of God sounded, “You fool! This night your soul will be required of you.” Many busy people can push the idea of death out of their mind by day, but will find themselves awakening some night gripped by the terror of death. Hebrews 9:27 says it is “appointed for men to die” and after this, they must face “the Judgment of God.” William Randolph Hearst, the publisher and founder of Hearst Communications, loved the pleasure of entertaining his friends at his castle estate in Beverly Hills CA. But he forbid anyone to bring up the subject of death in his presence. Hearst hated the thought of death in life, but had to face death on August 14, 1951.
The “Rich Fool” reminds us of people who never think about God, but what about people who know about God and still reject him? Night can also symbolize a time of turning away from God. One of the major themes in the Gospel of John is “light and darkness.” John the Baptist came to bear witness of the LIGHT, that all through him might believe. He was not that light, Jesus “was the true light which gives light to every man (John 1:8-9).” One of the most tragic examples of knowing the light, but rejecting the light was Judas. In John 13:30, after the Passover meal in the upper room, “Judas went out (to betray Jesus) and it was night.” That night meant tragedy for Judas. Judas had so many spiritual opportunities! Think how Christ had chosen Judas to be one of His twelve disciples. Judas heard Jesus teach and witnessed miracles, but Judas allowed himself to be seduced by Satan who “put into” his heart to betray Jesus. The greatest tragedy is to know about the truth and light of Christ and turn from the light. On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, Christ washed Judas’ feet and made him the honored guest at the Passover meal. Tragically the soul of Judas was forever eclipsed that night. After Judas died, he was assigned to the place of “outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 25:30).”
The word night doesn’t always symbolize damnation or turning away from God. NIGHT IS A TIME TO TURN TO GOD! I have often taken my worries, my problems and my fears to bed with me. Like Job, I have felt like “the night is long, and I am full of tossing till dawn (Job 7:3-4).” A few times, I felt like David who said, “All night I make my bed swim—I drench my couch with my tears (Ps 6:6).” No matter what burdens you or bothers you, night can be a time of spiritual devotion. You can pray part of the night, or all through the night like Jesus (Mt. 14:23, Lk 6:12). The night is the time when your heart and mind is freed from the activities and distractions of the day. The night can turn sad times into glad times as Ps 30:5 says, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Sometimes though, by turning to the Lord, joy arrives before dawn! Psalm 42:8 says “In the night His song shall be with me.” Night may be the time you receive needed direction from God. Psalm 16:7 says, “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.” Psalm 119:148 reminds us that the place to go when we need help or counsel is God’s Word: “My eyes are awake through the night watches—that I may meditate in Your Word.” Night or day, God’s Word is our primary resource for God’s counsel and instruction! How many times do we try to figure out how to solve our problems without the Lord? Instead of turning to the Lord, we stress and lose sleep at night or run around during the day telling our friends and family about our problems. We forget the old chorus which says, “I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus, I cannot bear these burdens alone.”
Jesus wants us to know He is there all of the time. In Psalm 119:55-56, we see the person who puts his or her faith into practice 24/7. He or she has such an intimate relationship that they are not only saved by grace through faith because they called upon the Name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13), but they are also practicing their faith by following and obeying the Lord and HIS Word all the time. I don’t want to be the person who never puts God or Eternity in their thoughts. Neither do I want to be the person who is exposed to the light, but listens to Satan deceptions and turns their back on Jesus. I want to be the person who turns to the Lord all the time and can say, “I remember your Name in the night, O Lord, and keep Your Law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept Your precepts.”
How about you?