GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep.”
Our first reaction to these words may be, “Well, of course David slept in peace. He was the king of Israel; powerful, popular, wealthy. He lived in a palace. People referred to him as David the Giant Killer. He had no real worries.” However, when David wrote Psalm 4, he was not living in a palace or even in Jerusalem. Instead, he was fleeing for his life from his own son Absalom. Yet, amid such hardship and heartache, David was still able to sleep in peace. How? Psalm 4 provides the answer.
David found the peace to sleep by giving his problems to the Lord in prayer. He knew that God would hear and answer, because God was the source of his eternal salvation and God had never failed him in the past. We, too, give our problems to the Lord. Unfortunately, we don’t always leave them there. Instead, worrying that God won’t hear, answer, or act, we snatch our problems back, struggling to carry what only God can. And still we wonder why we can’t sleep!
When sleepless, our prayer should be similar to David’s. “O Lord, in undeserved grace You saved me when I could not save myself. Looking back on my life, I can’t name even one time when You failed me. And I know that You won’t fail me in my current distress.”
A millennium after David, the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” The point is, if God loved you enough to give you His only Son, Jesus Christ, will He refuse to give you a loaf of bread, change of clothes, place to shelter, or means to repair a troubled marriage? No. Give your problems to God and leave them with God. You’ll sleep in peace.
David also found sleep by weighing his enemies against God’s infinite love and power. In the privacy of his thoughts he called out the opposition and asked, “Who are you when compared to God?” When sleepless, we should weigh our opposition in the same way. “Financial trouble, who do you think you are? Sickness, who do you think you are? Loneliness, who do you think you are? You are nothing compared to the God who loves me, hears me when I call, and has set me apart as His very own.”
In Romans 8:31 the apostle Paul invited this same comparison. He asked, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” So, what’s your answer? If your answer is “no one and nothing can be against me,” then turn out the light and go to sleep.
David Laid His Problems to Rest
Through prayer, through weighing his problems, through staying his mind and heart on the Scriptures, David was able to lay his problems to rest and his head on the pillow. While others were saying, “Who will show us any good?” David expected only the best from God. With words reminiscent of the Aaronic benediction, he wrote, “Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.” (Psalm 4:6) And dear friend, if you go to bed each night thinking, knowing, always expecting the very best from God, how can you not sleep?
Mark Weis is pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Lemmon, South Dakota.