Tonight we want to preach to the choir, as the saying goes.† Beloved, as the children of God, we need our sleep!† Many nights we fail to get our much needed rest for our bodies.† As a result we are less productive during the day.† We get grouchy and edgy, and our physical health suffers; and even our nerves and our mental state of mind are affected.† I believe, from personal experience, that many of human afflictions are aggravated and even caused from the lack of proper sleep.† This message may seem a little out of the ordinary, but I believe we would all do well to take heed to it, including this preacher.† This subject is important to us, after all, sleep takes up about 1/3 part of our lives.
1.† Sleep is a time of sweet rest to those who trust in the Lord:
Psalm 3:5† I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.†
Psalm 4:8† I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.†
These two verses speak of God protecting His people from their enemies, even while we are sleeping.† Some people donít sleep well because of fear.† Whether fear of thieves and robbers, or sometimes of family members; or of spiritual enemies including the devil or demonic spirits.† But we donít need to fear our enemies because God is our protector.† One of His promises is that He will take care of and protect His children who trust in Him.† Thus we need to just simply trust Him; that He wonít let any harm come to us by night or day.† We need to believe that He is powerful and able to keep us in safety, and trust that He loves us and will not let harm come our way in the night.
Psalm 127:2† It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.†
This verse speaks about losing sleep because of our concerns for the things in this life.† Beloved, how many of us lose sleep because of our earthly labors?† How many of us lose sleep because of worrying?† There is no profit in losing sleep over these things, especially those things that we cannot change- those things that we can do nothing about!† We need to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there.† We need to ďcast all our care upon him; for he careth for youĒ 1 Peter 5:7.† He will provide all our needs as He sees fit.† We need to simply ďtrust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understandingĒ Proverbs 3:5.† We need to get our much needed rest at the proper time, and let the sovereign Lord take care of our burdens.† That is what He is there for in our lives; and He can solve our problems much better than we can.†
Proverbs 3:24† When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.†
This verse teaches that those who keep godly wisdom and discretion close to their hearts and minds, the Lord gives sweet sleep.† When our lives are guided by the wisdom from above; that is the wisdom from the Word of God, and we hide this wisdom in our hearts, we will have sweet sleep.† But when our lives are in disarray for neglect of the Word of God, and neglect of those Holy aspirations of the Spirit of God in our inward man, then do we become fretful and perplexed over the smallest of matters, and fearful of every little thing.† May we seek the council of the Lord and return to His book for guidance, may we turn our worries into prayers.† May we be strengthened in the inner man by the spiritual nourishment of Godís Word.
2.† Secondly, sleep is compared with laziness in the Scriptures:
Proverbs 6:10† Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11† So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.†
Sleep is good and necessary in its proper time and proper amount.† On the other hand, we are to be industrious and hard workers.† The man or woman who wants to sleep their lives away or waste their lives away in idleness and laziness when they should be working, will come to poverty.† And such poverty is likened a tramp who wonders about and has nothing in this world because he is irresponsible to his duties in life.† The want and hardship caused by poverty is likened to an armed man whose ability to cause you trouble is overwhelming.† It is difficult to combat against poverty once it comes upon you.† It is difficult to ever get out of the woes of poverty once you find yourself there in.† The exhortation from the Word of God is to labor with your hands, to be industrious in an honest vocation, that we may be able to provide for our needs and for others in our lives.
3.† Thirdly, sleep as compared to spiritual despondency in the Bible:
1 Thess. 5:6† Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7† For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8† But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.†
This passage is an admonition against spiritual despondency.† The last days, beloved, are going to be marked by spiritual slumber, and drowsiness, and spiritual sleep- remember the ten virgins who all slept in Matthew 25.† The exhortation is to stay awake and to watch and be sober minded- to guard against the spiritual drowsiness of the age, that the Lord might find us watching and waiting for Him at His return.
Romans 13:11† And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12† The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13† Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14† But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.†
Ephesians 5:11-20† And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12† For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13† But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14† Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15† See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16† Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17† Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18† And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19† Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20† Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
4.† Fourthly, sleep is used to describe the state of those w ho die in the Lord:
1 Corinthians 15:51† Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1 Thessalonians 4:14† For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.†
We donít believe in soul sleep, but the bodies of those who die in the Lord are as those that sleep.† There is comfort in knowing that our loved ones in the Lord, that have gone on before us, are at rest from all their sorrows and burdens of this life.† Their souls and spirits are before the presence of their Savior, praising and glorifying God, awaiting for that glorification day when they will be reunited with their glorified bodies.† How sweet it is to die in the Lord- Paul said that for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.† He longed to go home to be with the Lord, which he said is far better. (Phil. 1:21-23).
5.† Fifthly and finally, we want to briefly notice some examples of sleep in the Bible:
Sometimes good things happened to Godís people in their sleep:
In Genesis 2:21-24 God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and God performed surgery on Adam and took out one of His ribs, and from his rib he made the first woman. And the first man who makes a wise crack is in trouble!!!
In Genesis 28:10-15 Jacob saw in his sleep a ladder set upon the earth that reached all the way up to Heaven; and God stood above the top of the ladder and He spoke to Jacob, and made a covenant with him, which He had made with Abraham and Isaac.
In Genesis 37 Joseph had two dreams; one of his brotherís sheaves bowing down to his sheaf, and the other of the sun, moon, and the eleven stars bowing down to him; signifying his mother and father and brothers making obeisance to him.
Sometimes evil things happened to people in their sleep:
In Judges 4:17-21 Sisera, the captain of the host of the Canaanites, when fleeing from Barak and the armies of Israel, turned aside into the tent of Jael the Kenite to hide.† She besought him to come in to her tent, and she gave him some milk to drink and covered him up, and he went to sleep.† And while olí Sisera was sleeping, Jael took a hammer and a nail from the tent and drove it through his head and nailed him to the ground so that he died.†
The moral of the story is, the enemies of God have no place to hide from God.† They are in danger of the wrath of God, even when they are sleeping.† Also, us men need to keep our hammer and nails in a safe place, especially at night.
Next, in Judges 16:16-21 Delilah got Samson to tell her the secret about his strength being in his hair, and then she made him to sleep in her lap. While Sampson was sleeping Delilah had his hair shaved off; and then said the Philistines be upon thee, but this time Samson had no strength and was taken away captive.
The moral of this story is for Christians to watch where they sleep and with whom they sleep.† Donít be taken in by a pretty girl who is out of the faith- she just might turn on you in your sleep.† Likewise the same applies to the ladies.
Finally in Acts 20:9 Eutychus fell asleep while Paul was preaching long, and fell out of the third loft and died.† Fortunately for him, Paul had the Apostolic power to raise this young man back to life, but I wouldnít try it today.
The moral of the story is, donít sleep in church; and, donít be a long winded preacher!
Do you get your much needed sleep?† May the Lord help all of us in this matter.
Do we sleep too much?† Are we not taking care of our God given responsibilities; or do we have poor work habits.† If so, may God help us with this as well.
Are we as Christians spiritually asleep to the things of the Lord?† May the Lord cause us to wake up, and to watch, and to serve Him while it is day.
Are you saved this evening?† If you were to die tonight, would you sleep in the Lord? Do you have the assurance that you are Godís child by faith in Jesus this evening?† If not, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died, was buried, and rose again in three days for you and you will be saved even this very minute.