On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Psalm 63:6
During my college days, my summers were spent working at a guest ranch in the stunningly beautiful mountains of Colorado. On a rotating basis, staff members were assigned “night watch” duty—to keep an eye out for forest fires in order to protect the guests as they slept. What initially seemed to be an exhausting and thankless task became a unique opportunity for me to be still, reflect, and find solace in the majesty of God’s presence.
King David earnestly sought and thirsted for the presence of God (Psalm 63:1), even from his bed and through the “watches of the night” (v. 6). The psalm makes it clear David was troubled. It’s possible the words contained in it reflect his deep sadness over the rebellion of his son Absalom. Yet the night became a time for David to find help and restoration in the “shadow of [God’s] wings” (v. 7)—in His power and presence.
Perhaps you’re dealing with some crisis or difficulty in your life, and the night watches have been anything but comforting. Perhaps your own “Absalom” weighs heavy on your heart and soul. Or other burdens of family, work, or finances plague your times of rest. If so, consider these sleepless moments to be opportunities to call out and cling to God—allowing His loving hand to uphold you (v. 8).
How do God’s promises encourage you when you face challenges that keep you awake at night? How can the night watches draw you closer to Him?
The introductory note to Psalm 63 states, “A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.” Psalms 61–63 were probably written when David sought refuge in the wilderness during his son Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15–18). What do we know about Absalom? And why did he revolt against his father? Absalom, the son of David and Maakah (3:3), was a handsome man noted for his long, thick hair (14:25–26). When his beautiful sister Tamar was cruelly raped by their half-brother Amnon, Absalom took in his sister and waited for their father to punish Amnon. Two years later, after Absalom’s anger had simmered unabated and David still hadn’t intervened, Absalom ordered his brother killed and then fled. Eventually father and son were reunited, but it was far too late. David’s inaction ultimately led to Absalom’s attempt to usurp the throne.