You priests of God, posted to the nightwatch in God's shrine, lift your praising hands to the Holy Place, and bless God. (Psalm 134:2, MSG)
I'm blessed. I've never had to work the night shift. Never even once, as far as I can remember. Nightly I give thanks for those aides and nurses who do work overnight.
Last night, I was in more pain than usual; they had run out of my muscle rub and I ached all over. The med aide not only brought medicine. She refreshed my sweating neck with a cool, damp washcloth. She washed my aching legs. She brushed my hair back from my face while she urged me to take slow, deep breaths.
Oh, the human touch. The pain didn't completely go away, but I relaxed, knowing someone cared, and I eventually fell asleep.
Someone who works in a place like this and uses her hands for comfort and healing--she was praising God through her touch.
Several times throughout Psalms, I have run across references to praising God at night. I have to wonder if David suffered from insomnia, if his joints and muscles ached from battle injuries. I shut my ears to most of the references. When I lie awake, praising God is not on my mind. Once or twice I have tried my alphabet game. The last time, I couldn't get past God is Amazing.
Those priests assigned to the nightwatch might have wished they were home with their families. They might have battled sleepiness. They probably made regular rounds of the Tabernacle (later the Temple), checking for safety and problems with the animals, making sure the lights remained lit.
David added another responsibility: spend your hours in praise. Lift your hands and sing God's praise. Bless God with thoughts and mind and hands.
Today's favorite verse adds another layer: their nightly uniform. Justice. Or, in the words of other translations, righteousness. Keep their relationships in order, both vertically, with God, and horizontally, with other people.
Lord, help me praise You during the nightwatch.
Get your priests all dressed up in justice; prompt your worshipers to sing this prayer. (Psalm 132:9, MSG)