By Charles Spurgeon—part of a sermon on Job 35:10
The text: “My Redeemer gives me songs in the night.”
But what does the text mean, when it asserts that God giveth songs in the night? We think we find two answers to the question. The first is, that usually in the night of a Christian’s experience God is his only song. If it be daylight in my heart, I can sing songs touching my graces—songs touching my sweet experience—songs touching my duties—songs touching my labors; but let the night come—my graces appear to have withered; my evidences, though they are there, are hidden; I can not “read my title clear To mansions in the skies; “and now I have nothing left to sing of but my God.
It is strange, that when God gives his children mercies, they generally set their hearts more on the mercies than on the Giver of them; but when the night comes, and he sweeps all the mercies away, then at once they say, “Now, my God, I have nothing to sing of but thee; I must come to thee; and to thee only.
I had cisterns once; they were full of water; I drank from them then; but now the created streams are dry; sweet Lord, I quaff no stream but thine own self, I drink from no fount but from thee.”
Ay, child of God, thou knowest what I say; or if thou dost not understand it yet, thou wilt do so by-and-by. It is in the night we sing of God, and of God alone. Every string is tuned, and ever power hath its attribute to sing, while we praise God, and nothing else. We can sacrifice to ourselves in day light—we only sacrifice to God by night; we can sing high praises to our dear selves when all is joyful, but we cannot sing praise to any save our God, when circumstances are untoward, and providences appear adverse. God alone can furnish us with songs in the night.
And yet again: not only does God give the song in the night, because he is the only subject upon which we can sing then, but because he is the only one who inspires songs in the night. Bring me up a poor, melancholy, distressed child of God: I come into the pulpit, I seek to tell him sweet promises, and whisper to him sweet words of comfort; he listeneth not to me; he is like the deaf adder, he listens not to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely. Send him round to all the comforting divines, and all the holy Barnabases that ever preached, and they will do very little—they will not be able to squeeze a song out of him, do what they may. He is drinking the gall of wormwood; he says, “O Lord, thou hast made me drunk with weeping, I have eaten ashes like bread;” and comfort him as you may, it will be only a woeful note or two of mournful resignation that you will get from him; you will get no psalms of praise, no hallelujahs, no sonnets. But let God come to his child in the night, let him whisper in his ear as he lies on his bed, and how you see his eyes flash fire in the night! Do you not hear him say,—
“‘Tis paradise, if thou art here; If thou depart, ’tis hell”
I could not have cheered him: it is God that has done it; and God “giveth songs in the night.”
It is marvelous, brethren, how one sweet word of God will make whole songs for Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the gold-beater, and he can hammer that promise out for whole weeks. I can say myself, I have lived on one promise for weeks, and want no other. I want just simply to hammer that promise out into gold-leaf, and plate my whole existence with joy from it. The Christian gets his songs from God: God gives him inspiration, and teaches him how to sing: “God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night.”
So, then, poor Christian, thou needest not go pumping up thy poor heart to make it glad. Go to thy Maker, and ask him to give thee a song in the night. Thou art a poor dry well: thou hast heard it said, that when a pump is dry, you must pour water down it first of all, and then you will get some up; and so, Christian, when thou art dry, go to God, ask him to pour some joy down thee, and then thou wilt get some joy up from thine own heart. Do not go to this comforter or that, for you will find them Job’s comforters, after all; but go thou first and foremost to thy Maker, for he is the great composer of songs and teacher of music; he it is who can teach thee how to sing: “God, my Maker, who giveth me songs in the night.”