A curious instruction appears once a month in my electronic diary, to “Water the piano”. Don’t worry, I’m not expecting it to grow! Apparently pianos built before the days of central heating were designed for homes much colder than today. So to keep the moisture levels right, a tub of water is kept inside the casing, and I have strict instructions from the piano tuner, and my daughter who owns the piano but is now in Romania, to check each month and top up the level. If it wasn’t there on repeat in my calendar, it’s doubtful I’d ever remember to fulfil my duty.
God had had a date planned in his diary. It had been there at least 430 years. That’s how long he’d been planning for this very special night when the children of Israel would leave the land of Egypt and set out for the land he had promised for them. Exodus 12:40-42 tells us about how God ‘kept vigil’ over them. He was watching. He was close by. He was on guard.
I’m not sure if God plans every event on earth, because gives us free will. But one thing I know he did plan for, was me. Psalm 139:16 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” I was there, in his diary! And another amazing thing, is that he keeps vigil over me. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) That’s not just one night, that’s all the time. Jesus promised it too, in Matthew 28:20. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. He’s here, watching over us, close by, on guard.
How did the Israelites respond to God’s night of vigil over them? To keep vigil to honour the Lord, each anniversary night. So if God is watching over me, all the time, wherever I go, shouldn’t I be honouring, loving, worshipping, serving him in everything I do? Not because a church meeting is a date in my diary, but simply in heartfelt response to a God who loves me and wants to spend time with me.