“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:4
What does the bible say about sleep? It would be good for us to answer this question, considering the fact that we spend one-third of our life asleep. I would also like to express that many of the things that I will share with you in this week’s article have been highly influenced by an article on sleep written by pastor John Piper. Now I am sure that we all have heard the phrase “beauty sleep.” Well there is a beauty factor to sleep, because it is a beautiful gift from God! There are two things that God never does that we do. He never requires sleep, and He never gets tired!
God never requires sleep, but we most certainly do. This truth teaches us so much. God’s beautiful gift of sleep offers us a lesson in humility because it reminds us that we are not God, for God never sleeps. While an entire hemisphere of humans is asleep, God handles the world quite well without them. But we are much different than God. God designed us in such a way that we require sleep. He could have designed us otherwise. He could have designed our bodies to where we would never need to sleep. Think about that…What would life be like if we never felt tired? What would life be like if we never slept? We would certainly have more time to serve God. There would be so much that we could do pertaining to our Father’s business. But yet God still chose to design our bodies in such a way that we would require sleep. And He humbles man through sleep because sleep serves as a reminder to all of us what frail and finite creatures we really are. John Piper, in his book “Taste and See” describes just how humbling sleep is. He says that “Each day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease, God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day; how humiliating to the self-made corporate executive that he has to give up all control and become as limp as a suckling infant every day.”
God is the creator of sleep, and yet the one who imagined and came up with sleep never sleeps! He literally thought up the idea out of nothing. But the psalmist also said that God never slumbers. That certainly cannot be said of us, because we do slumber and get tiresome, and it happens pretty fast. Our bodies wear down rapidly every day. This shows us yet another beautiful aspect of sleep, because our need for sleep reflects our total and full dependence upon God. By His grace, God daily uses the beautiful gift of sleep to refresh us, restore us and rejuvenate us. Just like a cell phone needs charging, you need charging, and God charges you up through sleep. Sleep ought to serve as a reminder that God is the creator, and that we are only the creature! Author Mark Dever views sleep as a parable on what it means to be a Christian. He says “your sleep tonight will be a small but real act of faith. You will lay your full weight on a bed, trusting this structure to support you. You can fully relax, because no effort at supporting yourself is required; something else is holding you up. And in the same way, throughout the night as you sleep, someone else is sustaining you.” Who is that someone else? It’s the Lord, the author of sleep, who sustains you. It would be wise for you to remember that sleep and trust go hand in hand. We helplessly trust God to watch over our lifeless bodies during the night. You see, God does not want His children to be anxious, but at peace. That’s why sleep is a gift from God; because it teaches us to rest in Him.
Now I want to ask you to do something tonight before you go to bed. Don’t just simply fall asleep tonight; view sleep from a biblical perspective. See how humbling it is for created man to fall asleep under the care of creator God. Ponder upon how frail and weak you really are, and prayerfully thank God for the beautiful gift of sleep.
– Pastor Eric