Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: Psalm 134
How are you sleeping these days? Lately I’ve been waking up too early and having trouble going back to sleep. I think the experience of perturbed sleep is common to man: we all have times when the demands of life interrupt the regularity of our sleep. I have a lot of respect for people whose jobs require them to keep odd hours, working at night and sleeping when the sun comes up. You know: police officers, night janitors, the third shift of the Levitical priesthood.
A verse from the book of Chronicles notes that the Jewish priests would perform their duties around the clock. The record states: “Now these are the singers, heads of fathers’ households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night” (1 Chronicles 9:33). They evidently kept worship going around the clock, and singing was a part of their service. Psalm 134 is a psalm specifically for them.
The first two verses are a call to worship for the Levitical midnight crew. The song begins, “Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord, who serve by night in the house of the Lord!” (134:1). MacLaren’s commentary notes that these first two verses are spoken to a group; the “you” in them is plural, a “you guys.” But the final verse, “May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth” (134:3) uses a singular “you.” MacLaren maintains that it’s a call-and-response song, perhaps sung at the changing of shifts in the temple.
But what’s that mean for you and me? Honestly, I’m not sure. I just try to get the facts straight before I say things about them, and there’s a lot I don’t know about the historical use of the Psalms. But I do know that it’s good to be blessed. And the psalm is not just about blessing the Lord, serving him, doing good things for him. It’s also about asking God to bless those who serve.
Sometimes we’re blessed with the opportunity to serve, and other times we’re blessed with the opportunity to sleep. And for those of you who serve in the dark and sleep in the day, I salute you.