In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
While lockdown has forced many of us to slow down our pace of life, many (if not most) of us are finding peace more hard to come by than ever before. The psalmist – David – writes in a way we can probably all relate to:
Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
He was utterly downcast but by the end of this short psalm – by the truthful outpouring of his soul – David was finally able to lie down and rest. Not through sheer exhaustion, but through acknowledging that God alone enables him to sleep safely.
There are many occasions in the Bible when sleep is a euphemism for death. In fact, Jesus used the term ‘sleep’ to announce that his young friend Lazarus had died (John 11:11), much to the confusion of his disciples, who thought he was talking about literal sleep (John 11:12-13).
Here in Psalm 4:8, David could easily have been speaking of death as well as rest. Why? Because those who belong to Christ are promised to dwell in safety. After death comes that glorious place free of sickness, tears and death (see Revelation 21:1-4).
But the peace of God is more than just some future hope of heaven’s comfort. It is something known only to those who cast themselves upon the Lord himself, an extraordinary peace that enabled Jesus himself to fall sound asleep in a boat, even while it was tossed violently in the great tempest (see Mark 4:35-40).
Rest and peace are ours to claim, but only through faith in the Son who loved us and gave himself for us. If you’re struggling in your faith, or you want to know more about what ‘faith’ really means, we’re only a phone call or Zoom chat away.