In the story we read in Matthew 14:22-27, we find that after Jesus fed 5,000 men who had come to hear His Word, He constrained His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side while He sent the multitudes away. He did this with a purpose.
These disciples had left for the other shore, but something happened in their path. A huge storm of sea and wind would not let them get to land. They were tired of rowing, anguished, and worried whether they were going to arrive or the boat was going to sink. Then something AMAZING happened.
Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea…
In the Bible there are night and day watches. The Jews divided their day and night watches into three parts of four hours each. On the other hand, the Romans divided their day and night watches into four parts of three hours each.
First came the night watches:
1st—6pm-9pm, 2nd—9pm-12am, 3rd—12am-3am, 4th—3am-6am.
Next came the day watches:
1st—6am-9am, 2nd—9am-12pm, 3rd—12pm-3pm, 4th—3 pm-6pm.
When Christ came to His disciples, He came in the fourth watch of the night, which was from 3 am to 6 am.
The fourth watch represents the most uncomfortable time...the most difficult time, the time of last breath, the time when we have lost all hope. But it also represents the most difficult hour: 3 am to 6 am is the time when the body is most tired, the time when the body sleeps best.
The fourth hour of the night also represents the time when God manifests Himself, the time when God does His best work.
Here are a few examples from the Bible:
•Jacob wrestled with God and met Him face to face just before entering into his destiny as Israel. Genesis 32:22-31
•Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:25-26
•Gideon defeated the Midianites (middle watch). Judges 7:19-24
•Peter and Jesus walked on the water. Matthew 14:25-26
•The angels appeared to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Saviour. Luke 2:8-14
•Jesus resurrected from the dead. Matthew 28:1
•The bridegroom wooed His bride in the night hours. Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Proverbs 8:34-35 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord.
Psalm 63:6-7 When I remember thee upon my bed and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Let me give you three important points about the fourth watch:
1. Let us learn to seek God's guidance and not just God's help in the fourth watch.
o The darkest hour of the night is before the sun rises.
2. Let us understand that the fourth watch is God's time and it is the time of miracles.
o When we are awake and conversing with Him in the fourth watch of the night, we receive the faith that will allow us to “walk on water.”
3.Let us understand that the fourth watch should not be our last option but our first option.
If we are not building our life on the Word of God, we will experience major defeat and disaster.
If an area of our life is incompatible with Scriptural living, it isn't to be moved to another area, but removed completely.