The Test that Enables Sleep

“O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill.

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people!”

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 3; 4:8

The setting is terrifying: many foes, rising up and against, snarling thousands versus one, and all around. But there’s something else encircling, a shield and glory, and no one can touch the child of God nestled there. The LORD, covenant keeper, envelops His own, lifts their heads in gentle love to see His face above the fray, and grants sweet rest.

We see, we sense, we hear, enemies visible, invisible, and audible. Taunts at our faith and sharp swipes at our security, while angry and menacing, have no power over those safe in salvation. Whether troubles arise unbidden, or are of our own doing, we can lie down, our Savior guarding all vulnerability, and sleep, His calm covering our minds. The cry for help is a cry heard and held by the omnipotent Lover and ever-vigilant Keeper of our souls. (Psalm 121; Ephesians 6:12)

While we are in the world, our Almighty protects us from the world’s influences as we abide in Him. He shields us from the fiery arrows of Satan, is our bright glory in darkness, and lifts our hearts and minds to remember His victory over these foes. Untouched and kept in His salvation, we are blessed and at rest no matter what looms or comes. (John 17:11,15; Colossians 3:1-2)

What enemies of doubt approach and bully, what vicious scoffing rattles our confidence in the unchanging God? Where have flabby disciplines, glib commitment, and shallow study left our faith exposed to lies from our culture, to unsettling mixed messages that pester and confuse? What doors to worldly thinking do we leave ajar in our entertainment and education? What can we practically do to stem our exposure to the drone of manipulated headlines and fear-laden news, and thus limit our vulnerability to worry?

We can be proactive and careful to guard the gift of rest, but in this life will always wrestle with the prince of darkness. Still, the righteous need not fear, and can soundly sleep. We are tested to make our hearts firm and steady, because we trust God’s word to us. He rises to help, He holds at bay the wicked, He carries us on His wings in every storm. (Deuteronomy 33:12;26-27; Psalm 112:7-8)

Loving Father, keep my head lifted toward You, and cause me to rest in the blessed salvation You so graciously give. Grant sweet sleep so Your glory abounds in all my waking hours.

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