I was reading Psalm 119 in my devotion on Saturday morning. If you want to read this Psalm go and get yourself a nice cup of tea because you are going to be sitting for a long time! It is the longest Psalm, actually, the longest chapter in the Bible. But it is full of rich and wonderful truths.
As you read, you discover that the psalmist writing this piece had developed the habit of making wise choices. But, the verses that captured my imagination were 147- 148, “ I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” In verse 67 he says something similar, “At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.” In verse 55 he says, “In the night Lord I remember your name, that I may keep your law.”
Wow, sounds like a serious case of insomnia to me! And if you read the Psalm he had good reason to be troubled…he had enemies who were out to get him, people were slandering his name and a whole host of other things troubled his weary heart.
Some of the best arguments I have ever had, and won I might add, have been in my imagination in the dark hours of the night. I confront my foe with a valor that would terrify Braveheart and have him shaking in his kilt! I get a picture in my head of my adversary and deliver a well-constructed argument that knocks him down blow by forceful blow. I imagine my foe staggering to respond only to be reduced to dust by my brilliant retort! I lie in bed and wallow in my victory assuring myself that I will win this battle on the morrow!
The next morning when I confront my foe, I stumble, stutter, look for those cleverly crafted arguments, but they have sifted through my brain and are gone! The glorious victory achieved on my pillow and in my mind is as far from reality as the sleep that evaded my weary frame.
I have learned, with age that using the midnight hours in this way is not profitable for my mind or my body. I wake troubled, restless and my soul is not at peace. Do you know what I am talking about?
I have learned from the Psalmist to use those restless hours far more profitably: Let me share a few thoughts with you.
1. Take your cares and worries to the Lord: “In the night Lord I remember your Name.” Use those midnight, sleepless hours focusing on the Lord not your problem. Someone once said, “Focus on the promise not on the problem.”
2. Be deliberate in your requests to God: Speak to the Lord and tell him your concerns. Don’t have arguments in your mind, clear your mind and talk to God about your problem. The psalmist said, “I cry for help.” Ask God to get you through this mess, cry out to Him and believe that He hears and answers prayer.
3. Meditate on God’s promises: When you are anxious there is nothing more destructive than sitting and pondering your problem. What benefit can be achieved by mulling over your problem? Mediate on God’s Word and it will strengthen you. The psalmist said, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Remind yourself of all the promises of God - repeat your favorite Bible verses and speak to your own soul. Keep your focus in the right place.
Our problems may not diminish, however, ‘Casting your cares on Him because He cares for you,” will certainly help. Using the night hours to worry and to fill your mind with anxious thoughts will only harm your physical health and the health of your soul. Use those dark hours wisely. The psalmist did and he ended his days praising His great God!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,