I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. —Psalm 4:8
The Psalms contain soothing verses about rest and sleep. Psalm 3, for example, was written while King David fled from his rebellious son Absalom; yet in verse 5, he said, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 127:2 says, “Certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves.” Psalm 23:2 says, “He lets me lie down in green pastures,” and Psalm 121 reminds us that the keeper of Israel does not slumber or sleep. Since the Lord knows when we lie down (Ps. 139:3), we can sleep in peace, for He alone makes us dwell in safety (Ps. 4:8).
Psalm 4:8 is particularly easy to memorize because it’s short, and it comes at the end of an unusual bedtime prayer. David sounds agitated at the beginning of this psalm, and many scholars believe it, too, was written during Absalom’s rebellion. Notice how many people David addressed in these eight verses, as if turning to one person after another.
He began by praying to God in verses 1-2 (“Answer me”). Verses 2-3 addressed his enemies (“How long will you love what is worthless?”). In verses 4-5, he spoke to himself, reminding himself to calm down and not be sinfully agitated in bed. In the last three verses, he reverted to prayer again, admitting that his advisors were giving him nothing but bad news; yet, he said, he felt great inner joy and could lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
In this way Psalm 4:8 represents a great declaration of faith. Sometimes the greatest demonstration of faith isn’t in moving mountains; it’s in turning down the covers.
Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me.
You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted?
How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie?
Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry and do not sin; On your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.
Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?”
Look on us with favor, Lord.
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and new wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
For You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
How many of our sleepless hours might be traced to our untrusting and disordered minds. They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep. No pillow so soft as a promise; no coverlet so warm as an assured interest in Christ. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon
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