Friday, October 15, 2010

Nytol or God Over All?

How did you sleep last night?

There's a fair chance that you didn't get a good night's sleep. Insomnia is fairly common, as well as night terrors, partners' snoring, eating too much before bed, and a variety of other reasons.

In the middle of Psalm 3, we find David thanking God for a good night's sleep. Here's what he says:

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. (Psalm 3:5)

Maybe you're thinking to yourself, well, what's so remarkable about that? David was the king of Israel, lived in a palace, probably had a king size bed, luxurious surroundings. How could he not have slept well?

Yet the incredible thing is that David didn't spend the night in his palace. Neither was he in a Hilton hotel, nor visiting the Slieve Donard Hotel. Instead, David was on the run. David, the king, was a fugitive, and not for the first time in his life.

Earlier, David had been fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. Here in Psalm 3, David has fled Jerusalem, abandoned his royal palace because of the rebellion and uprising of Absalom his son. You can read the full story in 2 Samuel 15-18. Absalom had set himself up against his father and against the LORD, got together a rabble of rebels, and set himself as king.

David and his company are on the run. He's in danger. His life is threatened. But David has slept well. How did he do it? Was he using some Nytol (other sleeping tablets and remedies are available)? Did he blank out the danger through use of drugs or alcohol?

David wasn't using Nytol. Instead, he was trusting in God over all.

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.
(Psalm 3:1-4)

David doesn't focus on the threat, rather he glories in his God, the one who is his shield, his glory, who lifts his head. God, the covenant LORD, who answers prayer - from his holy hill (the very place where the LORD has installed his king, his anointed, but where Absalom has captured. see Psalm 2:6).

I've mentioned before the wee note that granny has in her house which goes something like this - when you're going to bed, leave your troubles with the Lord. He'll be up all night anyway. That's what David is demonstrating here. Focus on the Lord and his character and power, and not on your troubles, and you can sleep easy: 'for he gives to his beloved sleep.' (Psalm 127:2)

Sleep well tonight!

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