Psalm 4 has been a favorite of mine for years. It is about prayer. It is about finding peace before you fall asleep.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep! (vs. 8)
In verse 1, Psalm 4 opens with three promises:
- Answer me when I call
- God relieves me in my distress
- Grace means that He will listen to my prayers – I never deserve this special treatment – but yes, God hears my prayers
Verses 2 and 3 give a simple formula to relieve stress. How many of us cannot sleep because our minds churn with anxiety?
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
I have learned that a conversation during the day in which my character was attacked would keep me awake for a few nights.
I needed to find an antidote for this criticism.
I found that if I could understand their motives, whether they loved me with their comments or were loving what is worthless and aiming at deception, I could ask forgiveness for myself or pray that God would enlighten them with truth.
Note: The Lord hears when I call. At night, this prayer has become a reality. I cast my sins and the sins of others upon the Lord.
I find peace.
Dealing with broken relationships (yourself or others) is key to sleeping at night.
Verses 4 and 5: I have found that the fear of God can help sleeping.
Tremble (fear God), and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
There is a fear of judgment and there is a fear of offending a person that you love. Both types of fear are inherent in the Biblical concept of fear. Sin brings judgment and it offends those we love.
Most anxiety is rooted in unforgiven sin. Paul teaches the principle that refusing to forgive causes sickness (1 Corinthians 11:29). Psychologists would agree with the Apostle Paul today.
Forgiving ourselves and others brings peace.
Verses 6 and 7 are my favorite fantasy before I sleep.
Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
Before I sleep, I consider great deeds that God can do. We all fantasize before we sleep. Consider God’s greatness. I admit that I sometimes drift off to God doing great deeds against those who criticize me (and then I remember verses 4 and 5).
Consider world evangelism, the Spirit of God falling, children prophesying, and God providing you a million dollars and what you would do with the money. Stretch your imagination of the greatness of God before you sleep. Your dreams will turn from fearful to faithful.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
As I lay down, I ask God to bring protection around my house through the night. Then, in peace, I sleep!
Until 3 a.m., then I wake up and can’t sleep! Read Interruption #57 about 3 a.m. at www.grantedwardsauthor.com.