Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Who stand by night in the house of the Lord" (Psalm 134)

A Song of Ascents

Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
Who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth.

- Psalm 134


If we actually stand by night, instead of succumbing to the darkness, we have every reason to bless the Lord. We sure didn't do that of our own glorious power! Apart from the power of the God of truth, "Because lawlessness is increased, the hearts of many will grow cold" - and are we better than they?

It is indeed in the house of the Lord, that is, where God dwells, that this happens - just as Jesus said, "Where two or three are assembled in my name, there I am in their midst." We don't do that alone. So many witnesses, Viktor Frankl and Alexander Solzhenitsyn among them, testify that solitary individuals always crumbled in camp, while those rooted in a people might survive. It matters that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that came before us, and that we remember that Jesus died on the cross - and was raised. It matters that we are not wholly alone, even when it seems so, as Elijah learned at Sinai.

It may seem futile to stand by night, because in times of darkness only the sons of darkness - those that love lying - have lots of others to support and praise them. But these are those that God blesses from the eternal Zion, the place where he lives. And where is that? Psalm 51 says that God desires truth in the inward parts. We'll have God in our lives, blessing us, supporting us, and saving us from debilitating loneliness, when he gets what he wants in us - truth in the inward parts.

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