“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
For a lot of us, sleep is a precious commodity. Yet it is also something a lot of us struggle with. It’s not that we don’t like sleep, in fact, we love it! No, the part that causes us problems is the lying down, the stillness, the quiet. Our days are loaded with work, kids, family, errands, chores, meetings, classes, homework, and so on. In our culture, we treat being busy almost as a badge of honor. We brag about how busy and tired we are…but why? We say we wish we had a moment to be still, but the moment we get it, we start looking for a new task. What is it about stillness and quiet that we dread?
When we lie down at night, how many of us lie down in complete silence? No TV. No music. Just utter silence. For some of you, your eye started twitching at just the thought of it. Silence and stillness are a difficult thing because it allows time for something we dislike very much…self examination.
Our mind haunts us. Deep down, we all recognize that something is not right. We have that voice that tells us something is broken. The fact that one of the largest sections in just about every bookstore is the “Self-Help” section tells us that we all recognize that something has gone wrong and we are trying to fix it. We think that the answer to quieting that voice inside us lies in fulfilling our own desires. More money, eating healthier, better sex, thinking positively. But as time passes, we realize that these also fail us. Lying down at night still brings that voice in the stillness, and it’s not calling us to a bigger bank account and washboard abs…it’s calling us to repentance.
The quiet brings the sweet conviction of the Holy Spirit.
So many of us try our best to silence or ignore His call, but I pray we will begin to see it for the beautiful thing that it is. To see it as the Father calling his children back from danger, to see it as Jesus telling us that He was crucified so that we would be free, to see it as the Spirit assuring us that He is with us, that we are not alone. May we never despise the sweet conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is an incredible measure of grace to this broken world.
Now, the quiet can also bring something wicked…the accusations of the enemy.
Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is the “accuser of our brethren” and that he “accuses them before our God day and night”. Satan is on the prowl, seeking to devour. He will try to take advantage of the quiet to rob the Christian of their joy and to further drive the unbeliever from God.
How do we know the difference between the conviction of the Spirit versus the accusation of the enemy? The Spirit invites us, the enemy tells us to retreat. The Spirit invites you admit that wrong has been done, to confess it, and to come and find grace and mercy. The Spirit offers change and healing. The enemy sounds the retreat. He tells you look upon the devastation you’ve caused, to question whether anyone would ever forgive you )or convinces you that you have no reason to seek forgiveness), and tells you to hide from God and those you have wronged.
In times of being attacked, the Christian needs to remember Romans 8:1 when it says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. To the Christian hearing the sweet conviction of the Holy Spirit, remember there is no sin (past, present, and future) that has more power than the cross of Jesus Christ. If sin has crept in, confess, repent and remember Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
As we close out Psalm 4, remember, in times of distress, we call out to our God. Like David did when men sought to kill him. Like Jesus did in the garden. The Lord looks after his servants and he hears their cries. We can rest in our identity as sons and daughters of the King. We can have joy and peace in the face of trials and tribulation, in the face of an enemy boasting in earthly things. We can lay our head down in peace, a peace that was purchased for us by the nail-scarred hands of Christ, and rest under the protection of the mighty hand of God.
Rest well in his mercy and grace.
“A quiet conscience is a good bedfellow. How many of our sleepless hours might be traced to our untrusting and disordered minds. They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep. No pillow so soft as a promise; no coverlet so warm as an assured interest in Christ.” Charles Spurgeon