“The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.” Exodus 12:40-42
There is something especially beautiful about this concept– a night of watching by the Lord. For Israel, after centuries of slavery, it was to be a night of escaping to freedom, something long-hoped for but still unimaginable. Their bonds were released, their blood-covered doors opened, they fled in droves with great spoil, driven out by a powerful but defeated Pharaoh who found himself helpless against the supernatural plagues from a God he refused to know. Israel’s God, Who in constant vigil was both their Captain and Read Guard, fixed His watchful eye on them for good and for His glory. (Isaiah 52:12; 58:8)
This Lord of watching is present in our darkness, He does not sleep or slumber, but actively watches over His own. His all-knowing eye is on all that occurs, all that squirms and stirs within, all that lies ahead; and He is never flustered. He is Lord over the night, over the recesses of our souls where we hide pain and fear and sometimes sin. He rules the night, the times of waiting, longing, sleeplessness, physical pain, anxious dark hours. He Who knows the beginning and the end tends to those He loves and what concerns us. He is a care-giver watching His children, a Sentinel watching for the approaching but invisible-to-us enemy.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121
What fears, what sloth, what depression, are shrouding our vision, blurring our hope? Where are we languishing in effort, motivation, love, inspiration, compassion, energy? Our mighty God is here, in tune, alert, watching, and He will not leave, or cease. He knows our night and is our pillar of fire there. Look for Him! Rest in Him! Rejoice in the trustworthy One! (Exodus 13:21)
Lord, You Who watch over Your word to perform it, do so in me. Fill my mouth with songs in the night, where You watch, and reside. (Job 35:10; Psalm 77:6; Isaiah 30:29; Jeremiah 1:12)