A Song of Ascents. Behold, bless the LORD, All [you] servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! 2 Lift up your hands [in] the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. 3 The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!PSALM 134:1-3
My mother-in-law needed some help cutting down a tree in her yard. I didn’t know that she needed some manual labor and so we had showed up to her house (over an hour away) and I was wearing nicer clothes. Never-the-less, I offered to help my brother-in-law out with cutting down the tree. The only problem was that 20 seconds into cutting this tree down, the chain on the saw broke. My brother-in-law set about to fix the chain. I wasn’t one to be detoured from getting something done by a lack of a saw so I picked up an ax and worked my way through cutting off every limb and cutting everything to the length it needed to be for pick up. After about an hour and a half I had sweated through all my nice clothes and I was near exhaustion. At that moment my brother-in-law came out of the air conditioned house and said he had fixed the saw. I told him most of the work was done but that he could make a couple of cuts on the trunk of the tree to finish the job. It took him all of thirty seconds. During those thirty seconds, my mother-in-law got home and saw her son cutting up the tree and assumed he did all the work. She bragged on him and told him how thankful she was that HE had cut the tree up and got it out of her way. She went in and brought him out a nice big glass of iced tea…. I was beyond thirsty, but she didn’t bring me anything. Fortunately I was too tired to say anything or I might have gotten myself in trouble.
It felt awful to think I was doing so much for my mother-in-law to help her out only to have her throw her gratitude on someone else, who quiet frankly didn’t contribute a whole lot to the process. (Although if the saw was working he would have cut most everything by himself. He is a hard worker. He just happened to be hard at work on fixing the saw).
As we read this psalm there are two places where a petty ingratitude can creep in. The travelers have finally made it to Jerusalem, to the temple, but it is night. The long journey is over and it can be tempting to rush off to bed rather than to thank the Lord for his provision all along the way. How often to we ask for “traveling mercies” when we are going places and when we arrive safely we forget to tell the Lord thank you!
The other place ingratitude can creep in is on the night shift in the temple. The priests and workers are praising God. Most of the people won’t recognize their work because they will be there in the day time, not evening, but these travelers note that someone has stayed up late for them and kept the light on. They have come all this way and someone has stayed up to make sure the temple is open for worship so that no one is left out. These weary pilgrims can stop and praise God along the way, even at night.
Too often we want to give God’s glory to something less deserving. We attribute the success or fortune in our lives to things like our own charisma or ability rather than God’s favor or blessing. We should be quick to recognize his work and thank him for so many answered prayers along the way.
We are often tempted to think that certain parts of ministry aren’t as important as others. But often it is the seldom seen sides of ministry that yield the most fruit. I’m convinced that if we remain faithful to God in the small things, we will see Him do big things!
Father, Thank you for the night shift in the temple. Thank you for the ones who came back to turn on the lights for weary travelers coming in who just wanted to give you glory and praise. Thank you for a church building lit up and aglow at night that stands as a witness to you. A beacon of hope as those weary travelers who pass by on their way to and from the city beside us. May we not grow weary in doing good, but live full, and true, and good testimonies for your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.
One thought on “Night Church! (Psalm 134 Devotion)”
And like the hotel’s commercial “We’ll keep the lights on!” If it were not for the night crew a lot of work would not get done. I am sorry you did not get recognition for the very hard work you did chopping the tree down. But just know you earned another jewel in your crown in heaven. God realizes what you did, even if your MIL made a mistake for not asking how you both did with the tree. I have been in that position many times, I find it best just to say “oh well, I did my best!” Live full, true and good lives for God’s Glory! God Bless you!