Finding God in the Night Watches—Psalm 63:6-8—Dr. Denny—March 24, 2019
Introduction: I would like to start this morning by asking a reasonable but difficult question: Where is God? Can you point the way? Do you know? Is there even an answer to this question? Our Psalmist, King David, might have the answer. In one of his most exquisite psalms, David tells us one of his favorite places where he always finds God—in the night watches (Ps 63:6).
*Several years ago a photographer named Pete McBride became worried about the health of the Grand Canyon. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world with rocks dating back 2 billion years and human artifacts going back 12,000 years. With Teddy Roosevelt’s proclamation over congress’s disapproval, he declared it a national park 100 years ago.
McBride decided to walk the 750-mile canyon taking photographs to spur interest in protecting the park. His first attempt nearly killed him. He had to quit after 6 days and nearly died. But he tried again with a friend and writer, Kevin Fedarko. There is no trail. 80% of the canyon is like a wilderness. His main concern was just how to find water and stay alive.
Read his comments on the silence of the night…
Textual commentary: David too finds god in the night watches. How many time, I wonder, did David pull his bed out to the verandah of his palace and drift off to sleep while gazing at the stars? It was here beneath the river of stars that David put aside his worries and fears and let his mind play among the stars. It was in the night watches that he found God. You too can emulate David and drift off to sleep in the arms of God.
Here is David’s easy outline for finding God in this modern chaotic world in which we all live:
First, as he drifts off to sleep, he remembers and meditates on God (Isa 63:6). Such a simple but profound solution for the frayed nerves of our time. And yet is it really that easy? Look at the distractions that will keep us from this routine: the sports game that has you on edge—especially if your team just lost. Or the late night party with your rowdy friends that had you drinking and getting wild. Or the review of your bills and worry over the car payment you can’t make. Or the fight you just had with your husband or wife. Or the worrisome pain you feel in your leg or chest. Etc. —–Let us all rise to the challenge David presents to us. Let us find time to meditate and remember the wonders of our relationship with the Lord as we drift off to sleep.
Second, David sings for joy. Now I know that most of us can’t sing worth a lick, but that is not the issue.
Joke—Miranda likes to sing, and whenever she begins, her husband heads outside. Hurt and a little dejected, she asked him, “Don’t you like my singing?” “Of course, Dear,” he replied. “I just want to make sure the neighbors know I’m not beating you.”
Creating spiritual melodies in our hearts clears away the haze that often hides the face of God. When we sing, He listens.
**The old church hymn book—Read the introductory text—“Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Here is David’s suggestion: When you retire at night, clear your mind from all worries and concerns and sing a hymn to yourself. Just hum a song you heard at church or one that your grandmother used to sing. Sing to the Lord and in the singing, you will find Him!
Third, cling to the Lord(Ps 63:8. ”My soul clings to You).” David’s final method for finding God in the night watches requires you to do something personal, something physical. You must reach out and touch God.
Such a powerful act requires preparation. This is why David begins with the act of meditation and remembrance. Then he moves to quiet singing and then when his heart is fully prepared he reaches out to touch the Lord. His soul clings to the Lord.
*One of the most emotional scenes in the Bible occurs in John 20. Jesus is gone. The crucifixion is now over and the tomb is empty. The disciples are hiding in fear wondering how they will continue. And in the midst of this overwhelming turbulence of heart, Mary Magdalene revisited the empty tomb. At least she can get as close to the Savior as the tomb. And so she stands there in meditation remembering (as David urges us to do each night). Perhaps, I’m not sure, perhaps a gentle song rose within her broken heart, a song maybe Jesus used to sing.
But then she heard a voice break the reverie. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” said the unknown man. She thought it was the gardener. “Oh sir if you have taken the body of my Lord please tell me where you laid him and I will go to him and take him away.”
But then the stranger utters one word—one word that shook her to the core—He said, “Mary!” And that was all it took. For the intonation, the quality of the voice, the accent that had become so familiar to her was enough. She knew it was Jesus. She said back “Rabboni.” And then she clung to him.
Conclusion: David tells us three ways to find God in the night watches; Remember and meditate on your bed as you drift off to sleep. Then sing a lullaby, some spiritual song that will make the Savior smile. And then reach out and cling to him.