I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. Psalm 4:8 NRSV
I wish my childhood babysitter had prayed this verse over me rather than "If I should die before I wake...." which scared me so much I was afraid to go to sleep!
The thought that we both lie down to sleep and go to sleep in God's arms is both appealing and very relaxing. If God's in charge, what else can I do? If God preserves my safety, then I have no worries. This will allow me to sleep deeply and securely.
In fact, this is a verse to embroider on my pillow, I think! Or at least have it handy for those nights when sleep is elusive.
What is most interesting is that this is the closing verse of a psalm asking for God's deliverance from enemies. Danger is very real and all around. The psalmist is asking for protection and relief from suffering. The psalmist is reminded that God listens, God has set the faithful apart, and God gives us more joy than a feast. The person praying this psalm is also cautioned not to go to be disturbed or angry. Instead, lie down and think about what is concerning you rather than taking action. Perhaps the thought is that a solution will be provided by the morning - or at least the problem won't be causing such consternation.
In addition, this verse reminds us that it is God who allows us to lie down in safety. Safely is not provided by an alarm system or locked doors or even knowing how to shoot a gun. God alone can give us true safety so that only God helps us to sleep in that place of trust and rest.
Before you go to bed tonight, I invite you to pray/say this verse.
God, I will both lie down and sleep in peace tonight for you alone make me lie down in safety. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims