Daily Worship

The Shout for Joy

July 15, 2020 4
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Psalm 65: 1-8

1 Praise is due to you,
    O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2     O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
    you forgive our transgressions.
4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
    to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    your holy temple.

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
    O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas.
6 By your strength you established the mountains;
    you are girded with might.
7 You silence the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples.
8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

The night can be a stressful time. It can easily entrap us as we drift in and out of sleep, and experience the terrors of the night. When a video of our mind replays jumbled and distorted scenes from our life, causing us distress and fear, we can’t quite bring it into perspective amid the darkness of the night. I wrote the following poem four years ago to express something of this experience. It’s called The Darkness of the Night:

Fear comes in the darkness
incapable of sleep the mind wanders
possessed by darkening shadows 
invading the darkness of the night.

Tossing and turning
sighing and groaning
the restless mind is unable to conquer
fearful and disturbing thoughts.

All seems so bleak and daunting
in the middle of the night
no sense of hope 
foreboding dreams prevail without relenting.

A sense of despondency and despair
grips one like a clenched fist
refusing to let go its hold 
with unrelenting ease.

All appears so gloomy in the night
yet the coming dawn brings hope
shadows disperse with the early morning sun
hope reborn and fears dissolved.
. . . .  at least for the daylight hours.

Psalm 65:8a speaks of “the gateways of the morning”. It is a delightful phrase for it expresses hope for those who experience the darkness of the night. It envisages a holding on to the gateways of the morning, a looking forward to dawn as we experience the darkness and terrors of the long night. For dawn brings hope. It disperses the shadows and dissolves the fears of the night. So, as the early morning sun breaks through hope is reborn. Yet this hope is short-lived unless we also experience “the evening shout for joy”. Ultimately our hope is in the God of Zion, who answers prayers (verse 1) for “you answer us with deliverance” (vs 5).

PRAYER:

LORD, in your grace hear our prayer. Deliver us from the darkness and the terrors of the night. Grant that we may shout for joy in the evening. Amen.