Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 188 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalms 3 and 4 today and our focus is on how we can really sleep peacefully. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Sometimes Christians, especially preachers, have a tendency to oversimplify things. Follow Jesus, and you will have a great life! (Buzz = That’s bad theology and more of a used car salesman pitch) Trust in Jesus and you will be wealthy and healthy – again, this is not at all biblical. As we have mentioned before, Jesus clearly promises His followers tribulation in this world and also that He has overcome the world. Get your theology from passages like John 16:33 – you’ll find great balance there.
What about sleep? Should a Christian sleep better? Can Jesus help us rest better? I believe the answer to that question is absolutely yes, and BOTH of our Psalms today discuss sleeping peacefully, but let me say from the outset: This is not a podcast or a topic that should make you feel guilty, or what have you. Insomnia is a real thing and can have physical causes: too much caffeine, hormone imbalance, loud noises, too much screen time, fireworks after midnight, room is too hot or cold, certain medications, certain sicknesses, etc. The Bible does NOT offer a comprehensive cure to insomnia any more than it offers a comprehensive cure to trials and tribulations, or pain or sickness. In this world we WILL have tribulation. That said, we do find great hope and peace in our passage today that can genuinely help you and I sleep better and more peacefully. Let’s read Psalms 3 and 4 and then discuss the kind of faith that increases our rest.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not be afraid of thousands of people
who have taken their stand against me on every side. Psalms 3:5-6
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety. Psalms 4:7-8
What do we see here? We see that God sustains us in our sleep – even when we are surrounded by thousands of enemies! David wrote Psalm 3 in the midst of one of the greatest family and political and military trials that a person could face, and yet he could still sleep. Why? Because God sustained him. Similarly, in Psalm 4, David says that he will lie down and sleep peacefully, because He trusts in the safety of God. How can we better trust in the safety of God? Here is Tim Keller on how we can have greater rest for our souls:
Psalms 3, the psalmist says, “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” Now they’re outnumbered, the psalmist says, and yet sleeping … sleeping deeply. Is your life in the condition that no matter what is arrayed out there against you on Monday, you’re going to be able to sleep well tonight? That’s a test, isn’t it? That’s an acid test. You can say, “I believe in God. I believe in this, this, this, and this.” But one of the greatest tests of the inner consistency of your beliefs with the real world is you lie down to sleep, but do you really rest? …
The Lord says …
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
If you think you are kind of a rarity, if you look around and you think, “Everybody else here is kind of a sure believer, and I’m one of these folks who I’m just trying to figure it out,” no, no, no. You’re part of a pretty large segment of people [in church every] Sunday. For those of you who are assured Christians (I guess I consider myself one), when I read this passage this week, especially this morning, I wept, because I realized I’m weary often.
Jesus says, “If you are weary and if you are burdened, you haven’t really yet understood the greatness of what I offer.” This is an invitation…
Because we’re always weary because we’re trying to prove ourselves, there’s this deep restlessness, this spiritual sleeplessness.What he is [saying] is this restlessness is a restlessness of guilt and of anxiety. It’s a restlessness that comes from needing to prove yourself. . Therefore, everybody … whether you’re religious or non-religious, whether you’re Jewish or Gentile … no matter who you are, there is this weariness and this burdensomeness.
This is the reason why religious people in the church are always fighting, why churches [can be] such nasty places to be, why people are so sensitive, why people are so critical of each other. This is also the reason why people outside of the church (unreligious people) are always running off to the counselors, saying, “My parents, my peer group, the church I went to back home, I feel a restlessness. I just feel like I’m never living up. I always feel like I have to prove myself.”….
He offers himself as rest. Now let me get down to brass tacks with Christians and anybody who is here. Why are you weary? Look, I know one of the reasons I’m weary. I over-commit. Why do I over-commit? Why am I weary? Because I’m trying to prove myself. Because I’m forgetting the greatness of what God has given here, the greatness of what Jesus has given here.
You get weary if you forget this. He says, “I came to give you rest. You don’t have to prove yourself by agreeing to everything anybody ever asks you.” Aren’t a lot of you like that? Why? A lot of you are overworked because you’re overcommitted. Why are you overcommitted? You’re trying to prove yourself, you see, because you haven’t really laid your burden down and put Jesus as your new burden.
How do you know who you are? How do you know what you are? If you try to make anything else your wisdom, your righteousness, your sanctification, your redemption, you will be always weary. Some of you are very weary because you’re working too hard, because you have given yourself to your career. Why? Why are you working so hard? Why have you gotten no rest? Why do you have this weariness? Don’t you see? You don’t just need to scale back a little bit. You don’t just need to read the self-help books that say, “Well, you need to have balance in your life.”
Jesus says, “You have to put me on. You’re trying to prove yourself. That’s the reason you have this deep lack of sleep, this spiritual sleeplessness. You’re trying to prove yourself through your work.” Friends, whatever is bugging you, whatever is bothering you, whatever is draining you, whatever is making you unbelievably tired in soul today is because you’re yoked to something besides Jesus, period. There it is!
That’s the reason why becoming a Christian is not primarily laying down your sins. No. Of course that’s part of it, but primarily becoming a Christian is laying down your doing. That’s why that wonderful hymn [has] that great line that says …
Lay your deadly doing down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in him, in him alone,
Lay your deadly doing down, and you’ll have rest for your souls. “Put my yoke on you. I’m the only yoke, I’m the only burden, that is light. I’m the only one who, if you get in a harness with, will not relentlessly, unforgivingly drive you into the ground. Why? Because I’m the only yokefellow who is humble and gentle. I forgive. I cover.”
Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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