I often reflect on my time in the military and nights when I was on duty. I remember the clear contrast between guard duty during field training, peaceful nights in the barracks, and while I was deployed to hostile regions. The one thing that was common in all of these situations was the deep longing for morning. The night brings uncertainty, loneliness, and, in some cases fear. Our bodies grow tired and restless in the early morning hours. Our eyes grow heavy and we begin to do anything just to stay awake and alert. Every sound brings suspicion and the slightest movement in the dark conjures up images in our minds that may not be true. The night watch often seems excessively long and filled with uncertainty and misconceptions. It is also a time when we are most vulnerable to the enemies assaults; this is especially true when we are in enemy territory.
The morning brings relief and a sense of peace and confidence in our ability to properly assess and respond to situations. We finally realize that the constant stirring in the woods were from harmless animals and not a company of enemy combatants slowly crawling toward your position. All the fears of an assault have not disappeared but there is now greater safety in numbers and the burden to protect others while they sleep is lifted. You can now rest in relative peace and a greater sense of safety. Still, nightfall looms and you will again repeat that haunting experience with even less sleep than before.
David said he was waiting for Adonai more than watchmen (guards) for the morning. This deep longing for the Lord can only be satisfied by finally being united with Him in glory. The watchman goes through a cycle of relief and despair with every shift change but the Lord brings redemption for eternity. I don’t think David is talking about an encounter—for he had many encounters with the Lord. I believe David is talking about the Day of the Lord, when He will rule over the whole earth (Rev 19:6). David is waiting for what the prophet Isaiah later shouted, “Arise, shine [Yerushalayim], for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you” (Isaiah 60:1).
David is looking forward to the time when there will no longer be night because God’s light (Sh’khinah) will shine forever and there will be no need to guard or close the gates (Rev 21:23-25). A time when the One who always watches over us never slumbers, never sleeps, and is never fearful. When we will live in a city that “nothing impure may enter” (Rev 21: 27) and whose citizens continually walk in the light of the lamb— Yeshua, the bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16). Until that day comes, we must be like David. For he, too, had “the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
We must keep holding on to our trust in Messiah Yeshua. While we are in this world we will toil and repeat those uncomfortably restless nights but even then He watches over us. Keep your hearts pure and remain hopeful in Adonai, with Whom are grace and unlimited redemption (Psalm 130:7).