But none said, Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night;…
Elihu suggests one possible reason why the cry of the afflicted is not oftener redressed. The reason suggested is, that it is a godless cry." Surely God will not hear vanity. But if he sufferer would apply to God with a humbled, penitent, and believing spirit, the darkness might be more readily dispelled. God, our Maker, giveth songs in the night, songs at an unwonted time, melody when least expected. Here then we have a forcible and effective contrast. An ever-helpful truth this, that when the cry of deep disquietude and great unrest is changed into a prayer, when it assumes the form of an intelligent and patient faith, it loses in the act its plaintiveness and becomes triumphant. It is no longer the wail of hopelessness, it is the hallelujah of thanksgiving.
1. Young has these lines —
"Earth, turning from the sun, brings night to man;
Man, turning from his God, brings endless night."
And we have no more fit image than night for the occasion of our heaviest woes. What a pall sin will bring over our souls! We are all of us learning by experience. Are not our moods ofttimes of a sombre character? We cannot always control the moods of our soul. It is not easy to sing the song of faith when the voice refuses to sing the song of glad and happy love. Yet let the true soul wait on God, and the songs will come. Cry first, and you will sing presently.
2. So, too, faith may lose its assurance. It may want some of the links that give perfection and continuity to a personal trust. The shades of unbelief, or a faith that has lost its clearer lights, will sometimes take the place of a well-evidenced trust. If the time should ever come that you lose your early trust, do not let your cry lose aught of its devoutness; do not lose your hold upon God; still cling to Him. He is still with you in all those earnest questionings; and He will give you songs even in that dark night if you cry to Him.
3. "At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God." It was a strange place for the voice of thanksgiving, for the melody of praise. That night seemed a fit image of their circumstances, dark enough in all truth. Not much, to human seeming, that could inspire songfulness; everything to beget fear and alarm. Not more so, perhaps you are thinking, than the circumstances of some you know — your own, perhaps. Little outwardly to cheer your life, very much to depress it. And yet you, too, may have songs of trust and loving confidence; songs of hope, and triumph in that hope. We must not spend the time of our trial in fruitless complaining. Let us besiege heaven with our suppliant tones.
4. But I think it would be easier to die for Christ than to live through the commonplace life of thousands of modern Christians, who have to drink of the water of affliction, and eat the bread of adversity, and yet be Christ-like. Yes, to live thus, and still keep one's hold of God, and lift in consequence a hymn of glad thankfulness or patient hope, is it not yet more difficult? I often think so.
5. What is the aggregate life of the Church, with all its blessed fruits of love, joy, and peace, but a "song in the night"? If then, God has given any of us "songs in the night"; songs of happy love, songs of quiet hope, songs of deep trust, songs of true thankfulness, no night will last forever.
Parallel VersesKJV: But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;