Songs in the night

The Holy Spirit brought the following scripture passage to my mind today:

But none saith, Where is God my maker,
who giveth songs in the night;
who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth,
and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
(Job 35:10-11)

This lead me to look up a sermon by CH Spurgeon (that famously devout Christian from yesteryear) called “Songs in the Night.” The entire article can be found here:

http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/2558.htm

Some helpful points:

1. Why be joyful in adversity?

The natural man finds it almost impossible to do this unless his spirit sings, as per the beautiful poem below:

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress…
(from “Sailing to Byzantium” by Yeats)

Any Israelite could have sung a song like that of Moses – “The horse and his rider has he hurled into the sea”; the difficulty would have been, to compose a song before the Red Sea had been divided, and to sing it before Pharaoh’s army had been drowned, yet while the darkness of doubt and fear was resting on the people of Israel. Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of man.

2. What makes songs in the night more excellent than other songs?

a. If you can sing under pain and penalty, it shows your heart to be in the song.
Think of Oscar Wilde’s description of the Nightingale and the Rose, where the little bird sings “of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.” When the little bird is singing, the bitter pains of death have touched her, yet she sings to make a white rose crimson with her heart’s very blood. Can we too be as faithful as this little bird, and as Job in the holy scriptures, and say: “Though He slays me, yet will I hope in Him?”

b. The songs we sing in the night will be lasting.
They will fuel the fire of your faith even when death and you are having the last tug of war. We sing of Jesus’ power to save, not rowdy drinking songs or other lighter melodies, and this message fires the heart with undying hope.

c. The songs we sing in the night are those that show we have real faith in God.
Those with true faith sing even when they can’t see God’s providence in their lives. They can maintain faith in God even when they can’t detect His presence.

d. Songs in the night prove that we have true courage.
Many sing in the day who are silent at night; they are afraid of thieves and intruders; but the Christian who sings in the night proves himself to be a courageous character. It is the bold Christian who can sing God’s songs in the darkness.

e. He who sings in the night proves that he has true love for Christ.
It is not love to Christ to praise Him while everybody else praises Him; to walk arm-in-arm with Him when He has the crown on His head is no great deed, but to walk with Christ in rags is something.

To believe in Christ when He is shrouded in darkness, to stick close to the Saviour when all those around you mock and forsake Him – that is true faith. They who sing a song to Christ in the night, sing the best song in the entire world; for they sing from the heart.

3. What is the use of songs in the night?

a. It will cheer us up.
There is nothing like singing to keep your spirits alive. In particular, the devil hates Christ-honouring music…remember Saul’s days, when an evil spirit rested on him? It only departed when David played on his harp and sang.

If we too can begin to sing, we will chase away our fears. Keep your mouth full of songs and you will often keep your heart full of praises; keep on singing as long as you can; you will find it a good way to drive away your fears.

b. God loves to hear his people sing in the night.
It shows true faith, as stated earlier.

c. Singing in the night will cheer your companions.
If any of them are going through the valley of darkness with you, it will be a great comfort to them.

Christian, when you are in trouble, sing; you don’t know who is near you. Sing! Perhaps you will help and maybe get a good companion by doing it. Sing! Perhaps there will be many hearts cheered by your song. Sing! There is some poor distressed brother, perhaps, shut up in the Castle of Despair, who, like King Richard, will hear your song inside the walls, and sing back to you, and you may be the means of getting him a ransom.

Sing, Christian, wherever you go; try, if you can, to wash your face every morning in a bath of praise. When you wake up in the morning, never seek out another human until you have first sought out your God; and after you have spent time with Him, then seek out others with your face beaming with joy; be happy for the sake of other Christians; it will tend to cheer them up, and help them through the valley.

d. One more reason, and I know it will be a good one for you. Try and sing in the night, Christian, for that is one of the best arguments in the entire world in favour of your religion.

For example, you are sick; there is your neighbour, who laughs at religion; let him come to your house. When he was sick…he was fretting, and fuming, and whining, and making all kinds of noises. When you are sick, send for him; tell him that you are resigned to the Lord’s will; that you will kiss the chastening rod; that you will take the cup and drink it, because your Father gives it. You needn’t make a boast of this, or it will lose all its power; but do it because you can’t help doing it. Your neighbour will say, “There is something in that.”

And when you are come near to your grave – he was there once, and you heard how he shrieked, and how frightened he was – give him your hand, and say to him, “Ah! I have a Christ who will be with me in my death; I have a religion that will make me sing in the night.” Let him hear how you can sing, “Victory, victory, victory!” through Him that loved you.

We may preach fifty thousand sermons to prove the gospel, but we will not prove it half as well as you will by singing in the night. Keep a cheerful disposition; keep a happy heart; keep a contented spirit; keep your eyes looking up, and your heart aloft, and you will prove Christianity better than all the wise men who ever lived. Give them the analogy of a holy life, and then you will prove religion to them; give them the evidence of internal holiness (which is a matter of the heart), developed externally, and you will give the best possible proof of Christianity. Try and sing songs in the night; for they are so rare, that if you can sing them, you will honour your God and bless your friends.

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Helpful Christian Resources – the Old Paths

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…

Malachi 3:6
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Here are some helpful Christian resources I have found in my walk with the Lord Jesus. I’ve listed them here, with brief descriptions, in the hope that they may help someone else in their Christian walk:

1. How to worship Jesus Christ (by Joseph S. Carroll)

Amazon.com: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/266946.How_To_Worship_Jesus_Christ as a Kindle eBook or hard copy.

Review taken from Good Reads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/266946.How_To_Worship_Jesus_Christ
Can a normal person enter the presence of Christ or is that something that only happened for biblical characters? Maybe that question leads you to ask “What does it even mean to be in Jesus’ presence?” In How to Worship Jesus Christ, Joseph Carroll explains what it means to enter Christ’s presence and that it is something available to every Christian – through true worship.

There is much more to truly worshipping Jesus than simply church services and personal devotions. True worship requires complete commitment of emotions, intellect, and will, but the reward is great. Carroll points the reader into the presence of Christ by teaching practical steps of personal worship. He also draws on the habits and experiences of some of history’s greatest saints to serve as examples and guides.

This deeply practical and personal book will help you know Jesus more intimately on a daily basis. It will draw readers close to Christ in a real way, to experience His presence, and to worship Him in ways far better than what most imagine to be possible.

2. The Knowledge of the Holy (by A.W. Tozer)

Review from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/The-Knowledge-Holy-Attributes-Christian/dp/0060684127/ref=pd_sim_b_5/180-5909967-2392810):

“Love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside.”

A true classic of faith and devotion, The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer attempts to restore the majesty and wonder of God in the hearts and minds of all Christians. Informative and inspiring, this remarkable and important work shows us how we can rejuvenate our prayer life, meditate more reverently, in order to more deeply understand God and experience His presence in our daily lives. The Knowledge of the Holy is a superb aid to strengthening and deepening the spiritual life by returning the towering Christian concept of God to the center of the religious mind.

3. Morning and Evening – Classic KJV Edition (by Charles Spurgeon)

Review from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Morning-Evening-Classic-KJV-Edition/dp/0943575532):

For tens of thousands of Christians over the last century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” has been a daily devotional guide through life’s ups and downs. New generations can once again enjoy Spurgeon’s beautiful prose and elegant command of the English language in this completely revised edition. “Morning and Evening “offers readers the best of Spurgeon’s insight and wise counsel on themes that are as relevant to our day as they were in his day. In this updated version, Spurgeon’s work is returned to its former brilliance while retaining the beautiful language of the original King James Version.

Special Features:
– Each day’s devotions are presented on a two-page spread for complete ease of use.
– Each of the 732 devotions–one for every morning and evening of the year–provides inspiring meditations on portions of Scripture drawn from every book of the Bible.
– A new topical index helps readers discover Spurgeon’s thoughts on various topics important to Christian life.
– An index of texts lets readers find what Spurgeon had to say about a particular Bible verse. Spurgeon has penned meditations, expressed simply but eloquently, that continue to draw readers to faith and obedience.

Though Spurgeon published thousands of sermons and many books, “Morning and Evening” remains by far his most popular work.

4. The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church) – Special Kindle Edition
http://www.amazon.com/Book-of-Common-Prayer-ebook/dp/B0029ZALLC

My own reflections:
I have found it is vital to have some time alone with God each day, preferably morning and night, to ask for grace and strength to serve Him each day faithfully. This involves prayer, hence reference 4) above to the Book of Common Prayer.

I have found that praying the Psalms aloud, particularly the ones extolling God’s virtues and praising Him, really helps orient the heart towards Him in love, gratitude and obedience.