PSALM 4:3-8: “But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever had trouble sleeping? Is your heart so filled with the concerns of this life that you toss and turn each night? God has a wonderful promise for all of His children. It is a promise of joy, peace, and a good night’s sleep.
I know what it is like to toss and turn. Traveling as much as I do, I have spent more time in uncomfortable hotel beds than most. And, to make matters worse, my trips are always filled with challenges and stress. Many people think that it is a joy to travel for your work. It may be exciting for a while, but when you have done it for over 25 years, it becomes old. Time and time again I have had to return to these wonderful verses in Psalms 4:3-8.
Then there are the times in life when we face great sorrow, disappointment, and pain. These too can rob us of our joy, peace, and the blessing of a good night’s sleep. How do we find rest when our hearts are aching? How can we sleep when there is an emptiness in our lives, when someone we loved dearly is no longer with us? Can the word’s of the Psalmist speak even to us in these times? Let’s look at the wonderful promises David pens from the anguish of his own heart.
- “But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. “
The Lord’s promise is sure! The Lord will never leave us or forsake us! We are set apart by the Lord – for Himself! This means that He is personally standing with us in the very midst of our deepest struggles and our greatest losses. He is not only standing with us, His ear is attentive to our cry. He is listening to the groanings of our heart and to the prayers we utter that are bathed in tears. And He is always extending His grace and mercy to us in our time of need.
- “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” Selah
The term “Selah” in the Psalms means to pause. We must pause each night and examine our hearts before we lie down to sleep. Are we harboring anger in our hearts against others, or against the Lord? We all experience anger. It is a normal part of the grieving process when we lose someone or something dear and precious to us. However, we must not live in anger. We must not close our day in anger. When we lie down to sleep we have a choice to make. We can either rehearse the pain and foster the anger, or we can meditate upon God’s Word and His Promises. God’s Word brings peace and life. It soothes the hurting heart and renews the mind. It prepares us for a good night’s sleep!
- “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.”
When we are facing times of great anguish and pain, the natural tendency in our lives is to shut down. We are prone to isolate ourselves from others, and to pull away from any activities or responsibilities that we have. This is especially true with our spiritual disciplines. The first to go is our church attendance, then reading the Bible, and finally prayer. This is exactly what the enemy of our souls wants us to do. However, God calls us to offer the sacrifices of righteousness and to put our trust in Him. Some object saying – “I can’t, for that would be hypocritical. My heart is not in it.” It is never hypocritical to do what is right when you do not feel like it. IT IS CALLED FAITH! And when we run to Him in faith, He extends to us the light of His countenance – His grace, mercy, and favor!
- “You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Most of the healing that takes place in a believer’s life is not instantaneous or miraculous. It is steady and gradual. Struggles, pain, suffering, and grief don’t disappear by simply reading a few verses. However, when we begin to understand that God is for us, when we begin to lay down our anger and meditate upon His word, when we keep offering the sacrifices of righteousness, something wonderful begins to happen. I call it the “Great Exchange.” Where there was sorrow, we begin to experience joy. Where there was confusion and emptiness, we begin to experience peace. And where there was sleeplessness, we begin to experience the rest of the Lord, both spiritually and physically.
In times of physical and spiritual challenge, I have found His peace and His protection. In times of disappointment, loss, and grief, I have found His comfort and strength. And in an ever increasing way, I have found the blessed provision of sleep to refresh my body and soul. I pray that these verses will also lead you to a new revelation of His promise to give you rest, spiritually and emotionally, and that each night when you lay your head down – you will experience the blessing of a good night’s sleep!
- “It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.” Psalms 127:2 NKJV
Lord, bless us tonight with Your gift of sleep!
In Jesus Name