He Gives Sleep to His Beloved
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot; and all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went.” – 2 Samuel 15:30
Greetings, brothers and sisters in Christ—
What was the cause of David’s weeping? He was a king whose kingdom was in upheaval. He was a father to a son who claimed his throne and sought his life. David fled Jerusalem, not knowing whom of his countrymen he could trust. One night he slept in his bed in a palace, the next he had the hard earth for a bed and a stone for a pillow. It may have been one of the hardest nights the shepherd king had in all his life.
You’ve been there, too, perhaps. Oh, it wasn’t a kingdom that was tottering on the brink—it was your life; everything turned upside down. Your betrayer—was it a son, a spouse, a parent, a friend? Maybe it was not anything so dramatic, more a vague sense of doom. You wake up (if you managed to fall sleep at all) and your mind is racing, troubleshooting the challenges you face. Is there a way to restore order, to make things right, to escape what seems inevitable?
I had one of those nights recently. I woke up in the middle of the night and my mind turned from crisis to crisis. The societal trend so many of you have noted: a nasty turn to crudeness, unkindness toward our neighbors. The future of the Church—and our congregation in particular—with the low numbers of youth and young adults and young families engaged in our mission. Other matters of personal concern. I noted how my neck stiffened, my fingers clenched, my gut tensed. Then, through the Holy Spirit, I am confident, Jesus’ words were brought to the forefront of my consciousness:
“So do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
It wasn’t long after this that I was asleep once more. Jesus’ words have that kind of power.
Reading through Psalms together this fall, we recently read Psalm 3 which has this notation at the heading: “A psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom.” The shepherd king and poet composed a hymn on this hardest of nights. That’s remarkable. I encourage you to read the whole psalm (and to join our Monday night Bible study on Psalms), but I want to draw your attention to one verse in particular. Nestled in the middle of this psalm is this gem:
“I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.”
What a picture of trust. With his world in turmoil, David slept. He handed all his troubles over to the Lord.
Whatever has your mind racing these days, whatever is keeping you awake at night, know that God knows about it. He watches over you and in Him you will find your rest. That rest comes not through our solving the problems of the world. It comes not through knowledge but by faith. Rest, peace, is a gift of God, as another psalm reminds us:
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.”
May our Lord’s promise bring you peace when you consider the state of this world. When you find yourself anxious, concerned about your future and that of your children, may you find your rest in Jesus. You are beloved of God. May that reminder reassure you so much that you may sleep on even the most troubling of nights.
The Lord be with you,