Serving God at Night

A song for going up to worship.

“Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord.

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord!

The Lord who made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion!”

Psalm 134

This remarkable Psalm is part of an elite group known as “the Psalms of Ascent.” There are 15 Psalms (120-134) sung as the congregation of Israel went up the steps of the temple in Jerusalem. They would sing each in “rounds” with each other.

As you can well imagine, this made the ascent slow, but meaningful. As you read the three verses of 134, I get a picture of worshipers turning back and blessing the Levites. This takes place at the very end of the day. The Levites, and other godly ones who lived in the Temple, (remember Anna and Simeon, in Luke 2?)

They were the support staff for the priests.

I have some general thoughts about this Psalm:

V.1, “Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord.”

The first significant thought is “Lord” mentioned three times. The word is the recognition of someone’s status and standing. We call Him Lord, because He is that (and more). The second has to deal with the Levitical “night shift.”

They served and guarded the Temple during the wee hours of the night.

They probably cleaned, stacked wood, sharpened knives and maintained the Holy Place with its needs. There was no real glory working the night shift. There were no people to serve. The crowds were for the day shift. (Here’s a weird thought– think “Disneyland at 2:00 a.m.”) There was also a contingent of non-Levite people ministering to the Lord as well. They had no duties, and only the priests could serve through their work.

The Levites working at night were not ‘second best.’ At least, not in the eyes of the Holy Spirit. They were integral in both presence and service to the Lord. To despise them is to reveal one’s ignorance. They definitely mattered.

V. 2 “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord!

I’ve worked nights before. It’s a real adjustment. You never feel like you’ve had enough sleep, and it is really hard to be positive and cheerful.  I could get pretty grouchy at times. But an exhortation is given, a shout and a blessing as the crowds leave. “Raise up your hands– and praise Him!” It is as the work, although necessary, would be secondary. The worship however, was primary. We need to hear that.

Each of these three verses of this Psalm contain the word “blessing!”

V. 3, “The Lord who made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion!”

To be blessed (literally, made “lucky”) by our Creator and Lord is pretty profound. As a kid who read a lot, I think of ‘fairy dust.’ I know better now, but to be blessed by God is deeply significant. To summarize, I believe this Psalm is speaking of those in the church who are doing “hidden service.” No one sees them really.

They go about there duties quietly, and purposefully. The only recognition is from God– who sees all. I must encourage you to keep on. There are many more than you think who see your hidden ministry to the Father. You are His ‘night shift.’ You’re seen by few, but Him. He knows what you do.

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”

     D.L. Moody

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