At Midnight I Rise to Praise You

At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.

Psalm 119:62 ESV

Having meditated upon his ways and resolved to keep God’s law even though the cords of the wicked ensnared him, the psalmist now turns again to praising God for His righteous rules. Praise is fittingly the theme not only of this particular psalm but of the Psalms as a whole. Indeed, the division of the Psalms into five books makes an implicit declaration that they are intended to be our response to reading the Torah. Praise is nothing less than delight being expressed. Thus, those who delight themselves in God’s law necessarily find themselves praising the Lawgiver, which is precisely what the psalmist is expressing here.

Yet why does he rise to praise the LORD at midnight? Spurgeon gives two reasonings, and I think they are both likely. Given that the previous verse spoke about being bound with the cords of the wicked, it is possible that the psalmist was thinking about midnight as the time of robbers. Just as the cords of the wicked could not turn his mind away from God’s law, neither did he rise up at midnight in fear of robbers and thieves. Or we might say that praise rather than fear governed his life.

Of course, his rising at midnight may also be due to the solitude that it afforded him with his God. Jesus had the habit of rising early in the morning to pray in desolate places. Throughout the day, He was so surrounded by large crowds that His solitude with the Father could only come before others were awake. If David was indeed the author of this psalm, we could easily imagine the king being in a similar situation, having so much to do and so much on his plate that only the midnight hours provided him the opportunity be in solitude with God.

Let us take this verse to heart and, by it, think upon our ways. Do we delight in God’s Word so that praise naturally overflows? Are our lives more marked by fears of what God may permit to be taken from us or by praise for the abundance of riches that He has already granted to us? In the busyness of life, do we find time to be alone with God and to praise His righteous rules?

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