For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4
The loneliest hours of the day are the hours between midnight and dawn. Normally these hours are reserved for rest and sleep. A time when all is quiet in the world, human activity is at a low ebb and stillness blankets a worn and weary world.
But, this is not always the case. For the restless and unsettled soul the night watch is where things happen.
The night watch can sometimes be the only place where the soul can escape the gravitational pull of worldly and carnal things and enter into the things of the Holy – the deep things of God.
The night watch is reserved for God’s warriors. It is the place for people who respond to God’s call from the depths of the night to do ‘God-work’.
Strange things are commonplace during the night watch. And things not normally seen in the light of day are revealed in the darkness of night.
You may ask the question: Are we not getting somewhat overboard and a little too E.A. Poe-ish here for your own good? Not really.
Let’s look at some examples in God’s word.
The psalmist David knew the importance of the night watch:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Psalms 119:147-148
Certainly Jacob was familiar with it:
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:10-12
And the Apostle Paul was a frequent guest and racked up his share of frequent flyer miles:
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Acts 27:20-23
A Personal Night Watch
This blogger can speak of a personal night watch experience and who apologizes for any attempt at self-aggrandizement (which up t o this point has been intentionally minimal at the least). But, those who have seen the hand of God in their night watch need to tell their story. So, here is one of my mine:
Several years ago I lost my job as an assistant to a lead electrical design engineer at a data communications company (due to a corporate takeover). Our daughter was about 1 1/2 years old and our newborn son was six months old. No job. A single income family. No health insurance. Little food in the pantry.
After filling out many job applications and reading through employment postings – I waited. A call came. It was for a good position as a field engineer. An interview was arranged and it looked like a ‘done deal’. Then nothing. One week, two weeks, three weeks go by and still nothing. Now five weeks and still nothing but dead silence.
Then God began to call from the night watch to come and meet Him.
And I did for several consecutive nights. He would call during the middle of the night; at 2AM and sometimes 3AM.
Many mornings crying and calling out to Jesus until the dawning of the morning. Only to crawl back to bed exhausted and wearing from the rigors and pangs experienced by those who venture into the night watch.
After four nights of this it finally came. A breakthrough was felt. Something broke and pierced through the despair and gloom enveloping the soul. The trip back to the bedroom was different on this morning. Weary, yes. Worn out, yes. But, there was a deep sense of hope and PEACE that filled the heart (and only God brings peace) upon resting on the pillow that morning. This day was going to be different.
And it was. And the call came around 10AM that morning: “Sorry we took so long in getting back to you. We want to offer you the job. When can you start?”
Amazing things happen in the night watch.
God’s Need For Watchmen
The nation of Israel knew all about the importance of the night watch:
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, Isaiah 62:6
Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Jeremiah 6:17
It is during the hours of the night watch that the enemy will launch a surprise attack. It is a time when the common, beastly criminal types plot and scheme their evil works.
As the opening scripture indicates, God likens the brevity and intensity of this life to a space of time known as the night watch.
Jesus is calling His people into the vortex of its intensity. A calling for watchmen in this hour who will uphold his words of truth and be warriors of light – even if it means spending time in the night watch. For, it will soon be over and be as yesterday when it is past.
Therefore whatsever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. Luke 12:3