Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Praise in the Night
A Song of Ascents.
1 Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place,
and bless the Lord.
3 May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Psalm 134 is the second shortest Psalm (Psalm 117 is the shortest). In the first part of the Psalm more than one person is addressed, and in the last verse a single person. It begins with ‘Bless the Lord’; and the latter words are, ‘The Lord bless you.’
Those addressed in the first portion are the priests or Levites who had the responsibility of patrolling the Temple through the hours of night and darkness, to see that all was safe and to perform whatever duties were necessary on their watch. They are called on to ‘lift up their hands toward the Sanctuary, and to bless the Lord.
The charge is given to these watching priests by some single person—maybe even the High Priest. They listen to this call to praise and then answer with the last words of the psalm, invoking a blessing from the Lord for the High Priest, or whomever speaks at the beginning of the psalm. So we have in this antiphonal choral psalm a little musical ritual falling into two parts—the charge to the watchers and the answering invocation.
Our psalm may be the call and response used each night when the watchers came on duty in the temple. Or, it may be that call and response with which the watchers greeted one another when they met.
What strikes me about this psalm is the idea of praising God in the night and receiving blessings in the night. Throughout scripture the night and darkness represent difficult times—just as we still use those words metaphorically today. In every time and season we bless God—praise God—and receive a blessing in return—even in the darkness of the 2020 winter.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster