Dr. Tom Berry

A young man named Elihu pointed out some of the fallacies made by Job and his faultfinding friends:
"But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night.'" 
(Job 35:10).  Elihu was a young man but he was wiser than Job's three older friends.  They had bent the truth so bad that God said that if they didn't make offerings and Job didn't pray for them He would deal with them in wrath.  The worst thing God said about Elihu was that he "darkens counsel by words without knowledge."  (Job 38:2).  That might be paraphrased, "He muddies the waters because he doesn't really know what he is talking about."

But Elihu was right on target about one thing.  As he observed Job seemingly uncomforted in his troubles he hit on the reason many professing believers go through trial without comfort---they don't seek their God Who gives songs in the night.

Man has his literal nights.  They can be depressing.  Frank Sinatra had a rather famous quote in which he was reputed to have said, "I'm for anything that will get you through the night, be it prayer or a bottle of Jack Daniels."  The Scripture affirms ". . .Those who get drunk are drunk at night."  (1st Thessalonians 5:7).  The same can be said of those who commit robberies and murder.  In January and February there are an inordinate amount of mental and emotion problems, and even suicides.  Those who are reputed to have a lot of smarts tell us the big factor is the long nights and short days that are often cloudy.

Man also has his spiritual nights.  There are nights of grief, anxiety, bewilderment and persecution.  Job said that ". . .Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward."  (Job 5:7).  But there is a God Who gives songs in the night!  One of the most wonderful endowments God has given man is the ability to sing.  Man has forty-four muscles in the throat and lungs capable of producing 173 million variations of sound.  God didn't just give us this ability to sing in the sunshine, but also in the night.


We don' need God to give a song in the sunshine.  When the cupboard is full; the cheeks are rosy with health; the bank account is large;  everyone is our friend and life is abundant with luxuries, any fool can sing.  Those who have a song through the night season will need to get it from God their Maker.  Only He can give us a song when we've buried the one we've loved more than anybody else on earth...when we're in rags and hungry...when we're sick and hurting,...when the world and former friends are cursing us, when all of our plans have come crashing to the ground.

Habakkuk had this song.  Listen to him sing it. 
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
     Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
     Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls---
 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
  (Habakkuk 3:17, 18.)

Preachers are often called on to comfort people in their sorrow.  I always try to get those who hurt to look to the Lord.  If they don't get a song from Him it is beyond me to give them one.


First of all there are songs about the past.  Check out the song David was singing about deliverance from sin:  "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth---praise to our God;  Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord."  (Psalm 40:2, 3).  Ponder the son of praise Moses wrote when God gave miraculous victory at the Red Sea in Exodus15.  Dwell long on David's songs for God's protection and provision in Psalms 34 and 37.

Then, there are songs of the present.  There is the song of joy that comes from fellowship with God: "The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me..."  (Psalm 42:8). 

There is the song of joy that comes from worship in God's house:  "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.  Know that the Lord, He is God; 'It is He Who has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His trust endures to all generations."  (Psalm 100: 1-5). 

There is the song of joy that comes from soulwinning;  "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."  (Psalms 126:5, 6). 

There are also songs about the future.  Hallelujah!  As God's children we have a thrilling destination.  Samuel Stennett could write,
          "On Jordan's stormy banks I stand and cast a wistful eye
           to Canaan's fair and happy land where my possessions lie.
           I'm bound for the promised land. . ."
Another poet was moved to write,
            "This world is not my home.  I'm just a passing through.
              My treasures are laid up away beyond the blue.
              The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
              And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."


First, they are the best songs because they are more hearty.  I have boundless appreciation for our great hymnbooks, but the songs I like best are the ones I can lay the songbook aside and sing from my heart because I have entered into their truth by actual experience.  The song has become mine just as much as the person who wrote it.  Someone has said, "The nightingale's song seems to be the sweetest of all because the nightingale is the only bird who sings in the night."

Songs in the night are the best because they are the most lasting.  Some of the light and frothy sunshine songs that give us a fleeting refreshing don't fit in the long night seasons.  They sure wouldn't do when we say our last goodbye here and go out to meet God.  The songs God gives in the night will fit any time and in any situation.  The songs God gives in the night are songs of real faith and true courage and genuine love.


The songs God gives in the night season brings immediate cheer to our heart.  It's a little bit like the young fellow who has to walk past the graveyard in the dark.  Singing helps immeasurably.  Martin Luther said, "The Devil cannot bear singing."

The songs God gives in the night cheer those about us.  When we sing in the night season it is a testimony to others.  It adds a note of reality to our Christian profession.  In the book, Pilgrim's Progress, young Christian came to the darkest point of his journey.  As he did he heard someone ahead singing, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me..." and Christian was cheered.  My, how the songs of  Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail spoke to the heart of the jailer and the other prisoners!

One of the great things we can be assured about songs in the night is that they please God.  God inspired 150 psalms to be sung to Himself. He likes it!

One of the things we read will happen when the saints gather in glory is,  "And they sang a new song..."  (Revelation 5:9).  What a song that is going to be!  Night will be gone forever.  Those who have sung in the night will now sing in eternal resplendent glory.

On the other hand, those who have never sought God, their Maker through faith in God's Son will enter into eternal night.  They never got a song for the night season here.  They will never have one there.

Copyright 2002 Thomas E Berry
Scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted


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