If you are anything like me, you often lie in bed at night worrying- about the past, the future, other people and even sometimes you might worry that you worry too much.
Psalm 4:8 says ‘In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’
Thinking upon this simple verse each night over a number of weeks has helped to show me the ridiculousness of worry and the richness of Gods love, and it is my hope that in sharing some thoughts others too might be increasingly released from worry into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.
Lying down in peace
The verse suggests we can lie down in peace, but what kind of peace?
Peace with God- We, the unclean, unrighteous, sinful people we are can have peace with a God of blazing purity, of radiant holiness. How? The cross of Jesus. In Colossians 1:19-20, Paul, speaking about Jesus says ‘For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’ Through the death of Jesus on the cross we are reconciled to God, peace has been made between God and man. Roman 5:1 says ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Those who trust in Christ (those justified by faith) have the peace with God that Jesus enabled by his death.
However this peace doesn’t just mean that we aren’t at war with God, or that he is indifferent to us instead of being opposed to us. The peace that God gives is the intimate peace of sonship. He has given us ‘the right to become Children of God’ (John 1:12). Jesus, the eternally loved son of the Father has, by his death on the cross, enabled us to enjoy the fellowship and peace with the Father that he has always had. So we can lie in bed at night knowing that if we trust in Jesus we have peace with God- both reconciliation and sonship.
Peace of mind- This is a result of the previous section. Because we have peace with God we can have peace of mind. Knowing that we are forgiven and adopted as sons gives us a quiet settled joy and a sure foundation- a stream of peace which will never run dry. Gods sovereignty further enables us to have peace of mind. Romans 8:28 says ‘And we know that for those who love God, God works all things together for good‘. Our ultimate good is be like Jesus (vs 29), so therefore the Father is working all things in our life to make us more like Jesus. Knowing God is in control challenges us to stop relying on ourselves and to put a simple trust in him, handing our worries over to the God of infinite wisdom and loving care. It means we can sing with Alison Krauss (in the beautiful song ‘I know who holds tomorrow’) “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”
Dwelling in safety
the verse suggests we can dwell in safety, but what kind of safety?
The second half of John 16:33 says ‘In the world you will have tribulation (trouble). But take heart; I have overcome the world.’ This shows us at least two things about the safety we have. Firstly, we will not be free from trials, tribulations, risk and danger- this isn’t safety as we commonly imagine it. However we are attached to Jesus, the one who by his death and resurrection has overcome the world, and so we have the constant safety of a relationship with a God who is victorious over the world and will one day reign in victory. We also have the safe assurance of his unchanging love for us. Romans 8:38-39 says ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ So we can dwell in the safety of the assurance of Gods victory and his unchanging love for us in Jesus.
A picture of things to come
Despite how good the peace and safety we have now is, it is a shadow of the peace and safety of the new heavens and earth. In the new creation we will have the perfect rest that the Sabbath is a picture of. Their will be absolute peace. We will be completely safe. Revelation 21:12 says ‘It had a great, high wall’ showing its safety, and Revelation 21:27 says of this new creation ‘But nothing unclean will ever enter it.’ No sin or death or rebellion will be able to destroy the perfect peace and safety of this eternal kingdom. Revelation 21:1-4 sums up the experience we will have in the new creation. It says ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
You alone, O Lord
Many things in this world claim to offer us peace and safety. It is my prayer that we put our trust in the only one who can truly provide it.
Here are a few links with songs about some of what I have talked about.
‘I know who holds tomorrow’ by Alison Krauss (beautiful voice and even more beautiful lyrics)
‘No more sorrow’ by Will Todd (with lyrics taken from Revelation 21:-4 and the gentle sweetness of the harmony this cant help but make you smile)