May the Lord bless you from Zion. Psalm 134:3
It’s 3 a.m. at an acute-care hospital. A worried patient presses the call button for the fourth time in an hour. The night-shift nurse answers without complaint. Soon another patient is screaming, crying for attention. The nurse isn’t surprised. She requested the night shift five years ago to avoid her hospital’s daytime frenzy. Then the reality hit. Night work often meant taking on extra tasks, such as lifting and turning patients by herself. It also meant closely monitoring patients’ conditions so physicians could be notified in emergencies.
Buoyed by close friendships with her nighttime co-workers, this nurse still struggles to get adequate sleep. Often, she asks her church for prayer, seeing her work as vital. “Praise God, their prayers make a difference.”
Her praise is good and right for a night worker—as well as for all of us. The psalmist wrote, “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord” (Psalm 134:1–2).
This psalm, written for the Levites who served as temple watchmen, acknowledged their vital work—protecting the temple by day and night. In our nonstop world, it feels proper to share this psalm especially for nighttime workers, yet every one of us can praise God in the night. As the psalm adds, “May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 3).
When you consider nighttime workers—nurses, janitors, first responders, and others—what prayers on their behalf can you offer to God? Why would praising God lead to a blessing from Him for nighttime workers?
Dear God, in the early morning hours while I safely sleep, send Your blessings to nighttime workers doing vital work in my community. And help me to praise You in the night.
Psalms 120–134 is an anthology of fifteen songs, collectively known as the “Pilgrim Psalms” or “Songs of Ascent” in the Jewish hymnbook. Three times a year, all male Jews were to come to the temple in Jerusalem to observe the three annual national feasts of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). Since Jerusalem is located on a mountainous terrain (Psalms 48:1–2; 125:2), these pilgrims had to “ascend” to get there. Therefore, the superscription marks these songs as “A song of ascents.”
Psalm 134 is the final song in this anthology, serving as a fitting benediction and closing prayer for the pilgrims. Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe says that this song reminds us that our worship of God never ends (v. 2), and His blessings never stop (v. 3).