SONGS IN THE NIGHT
Faithful One, I come before you today with faith and thanksgiving, remembering your great grace toward me.
Read PSALM 16
A miktam[a] of David.
1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night.’1
Last Sunday, we related the words of Psalm 15 to the life of Jesus. All the more, Psalm 16 demands such an approach, for the New Testament takes verses 8–11 and explicitly applies them to the Lord.2 Read the psalm thoughtfully and reverently, imagining these words on the lips of Jesus, spoken to his Father with whom he enjoyed perfect communion. See especially the implicit promise of resurrection (v 10) that was picked up both by Peter and Paul and applied to Christ. Sunday is always a good time to praise Jesus who is alive forevermore. Let’s worship him in the presence of his people as the ‘eternal’ one; as we do so, may he grant us his ‘joy’ (v 11).
If we can – reverently – imagine Jesus praying this psalm, we ought to pray it as well. Such prayer can be offered both day and night, in sunshine and shadow (v 7). The psalms as a whole have a lot to say about praying during the night. Yes, night-time is for sleeping, and God ‘grants sleep to those he loves’,3 yet most of us experience times when our sleep is disturbed. There are many – including faithful Christians – who have to deal with a significant degree of insomnia. Alternatively, you may be a shift worker who works unsociable hours as, say, a nurse or security guard. The night can be a time when we’re alone with our thoughts and we feel particularly isolated or afraid. The psalmist shows that in those moments we can turn to God and be instructed. He sees us, for ‘the darkness will not be dark’ to him.4 As you sing your songs in the night, may the Light of the World himself come to you and lighten your darkness.5
Pray for those who are struggling in darkness, either mental or physical. If this is you, know that God is with you as your light.
Heavenly Father, help me to stand strong in my faith, no matter what circumstances life brings my way.
1 The Third Collect, for Aid against all Perils, Evening Prayer, The Book of Common Prayer
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