Brother and Sisters,
Today’s devotional is meant to be read this evening, as you head for bed. Have you experienced that sometimes anxiety, loneliness, or the like can be worse at night? You lay down, try to sleep, and suddenly your brain starts racing. I’d like to offer us three points of comfort for tonight’s rest. The first is a Scripture; the second a song; and the third a devotional written by another brother in Christ, over a century ago.
First, as you head for sleep tonight, recall to mind these two verses from Psalm 4: “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!…In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:1, 8 (ESV)
Second, a song. I’ve mentioned this one before in an FBC setting, but the song in question is a hymn called “He Will Hold Me Fast.” It became one of my grandfather’s favorites in the closing months of his life before he stepped into eternity and met Jesus face-to-face, unhindered by sin. Take some time and listen to the Shane and Shane version available here.
Finally, some of you may already be familiar with Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his devotional Morning and Evening(Note: Spurgeon pastored the London Metropolitan Tabernacle in the latter-half of the 19th century. During that time the congregation ministered through multiple outbreaks of cholera). The evening entry for September 10th is a meditation on Habakkuk 1:8, which reads in part (ESV), “Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on.” Here are Spurgeon’s thoughts:
“While preparing the present volume, this particular expression recurred to me so frequently, that in order to be rid of its constant importunity I determined to give a page to it. The evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the morning. May not the furious creature represent our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellow men? How our thoughts howl in our ears, ‘Where is now thy God?’ How voracious and greedy they are, swallowing up all suggestions of comfort, and remaining as hungry as before. Great Shepherd, slay these evening wolves, and bid thy sheep lie down in green pastures, undisturbed by insatiable unbelief. How like are the fiends of hell to evening wolves, for when the flock of Christ are in a cloudy and dark day, and their sun seems going down, they hasten to tear and to devour. They will scarcely attack the Christian in the daylight of faith, but in the gloom of soul conflict they fall upon him. O thou who hast laid down thy life for the sheep, preserve them from the fangs of the wolf.
False teachers who craftily and industriously hunt for the precious life, devouring men by their false-hoods, are as dangerous and detestable as evening wolves. Darkness is their element, deceit is their character, destruction is their end. We are most in danger from them when they wear the sheep’s skin. Blessed is he who is kept from them, for thousands are made the prey of grievous wolves that enter within the fold of the church.
What a wonder of grace it is when fierce persecutors are converted, for then the wolf dwells with the lamb, and men of cruel ungovernable dispositions become gentle and teachable. O Lord, convert many such: for such we will pray tonight.”
May you rest well tonight, helped by Scripture, song, and Spurgeon.