Read Psalm 134.
For a certain season of my life, I made it a practice to arrive at work an hour or two before anyone else. When you write and edit for a living, having some quiet time without being interrupted by someone’s knuckles wrapping on your office door can be priceless.
I’d choose an amazing parking spot, enter the building through the back, turn on the lights, brew a pot of coffee, and settle into the most comfortable chair in my office with a small reader’s edition of the four Gospels in my lap. I’d read about something Jesus did or said to set the tone for the rest of the day.
There was something wonderful about the quiet that surrounded me in those early morning hours before the busyness of the day kicked in. Even still, I had to regularly fight to maintain some time alone with the Lord. No sooner would I walk into my office than I would remember some email I forgot to send or discover some project on my desk that needed tackling. It can be easy to neglect what’s most important when everything is quiet and still. I imagine it was that way for the priests and Levites who served on the night shift in the temple.
That’s right—the temple in Jerusalem never really shut down for the evening. Someone was always there to attend to the lampstand, keep the sacrifices smoldering, and guard the gates. That’s because those who served in the temple weren’t really there for the people who came to worship; they were there for the Lord. And the Lord’s presence doesn’t have office hours.
In Psalm 134, the psalmist addresses the late-night temple staff directly: “Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD” (vv. 1–2).
Why are these priests and Levites being singled out? Because at night, with few people mulling around watching, it would have been easy for these men to take their duties for granted and forget what’s really important. The psalmist is gently reminding them to bless the Lord like He’s watching—because He is.
I’d be willing to bet you don’t work inside a temple complex. You may not be in full-time ministry either. But if you’re a follower of Jesus, then you are ministering before the presence of the Lord twenty-four hours a day. He lives inside of you. The temple of your body never closes. So, lift up your hands and praise Him, not just with words of adoration and songs of worship, but with everything that you do.
May our lives be filled with praise, even when no one else is looking.