The Night Watches

Moon and clouds

When we read Psalm 119, we can easily see the love and respect David had for the word of God. It is the same attitude that we need to have for the word. One of the things this love and respect caused David to do was meditate on God’s word.

My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (Psalm 119:148).

David said that during the “night watches” was when he took time to meditate upon the word of God. There are several reasons why this time late at night would be advantageous to one’s study of and meditation on the word.

  • There are less distractions late at night – With less activity and noise around us, it is easier to focus our attention on the Scriptures.
  • There are less time constraints late at night – We have more rigid schedules during the day. It is often easier to push back sleep when necessary than a job or appointment.
  • It would not interfere with one’s daily responsibilities – As important as it is to study the word of God, we cannot neglect our other responsibilities (work, family, home, etc.). Meditating upon God’s word at night allowed David to carry out his regular responsibilities during the day and still have time to devote to God’s word.

Christians are responsible to read and study God’s word (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15) and meditate upon the truths contained in it (Psalm 1:2; Philippians 4:8). David’s use of the “night watches” provides some lessons for us – not that we must necessarily spend time late at night doing this, but there are some other points to consider.

  • We must make time to spend with God’s word. But more than just squeezing in a few distracted moments here and there, we must spend quality time with the word in which we are able to devote our full attention to it.
  • Reading God’s word is important, but we must also meditate upon it. This helps us to better remember the word, which will help us to be better equipped to apply the word. God’s word must be put in our minds and written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). Reading and then meditating upon the word will help us be able to do this.
  • We should look forward to this time. David said he anticipated the time when he could focus on the word of God and we must do the same. At whatever time of day it comes, we should view time with God’s word as a blessing and a privilege, not a grudging obligation.

Whether it is morning, afternoon, evening, or during the “night watches,” we must make time to read, study, and meditate upon the word of God. It can become easy to neglect this as we get caught up in our busy lifestyles. But that just makes it all the more important.

This article is one of the fifty articles included in the book Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years. Click on the link to read more about the book.

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