David heart is restless and he calls on the Lord. He remembers his past with the Lord and He trusts Him with his safety. In peace he lies down and rests.
This has been one of my favorite psalms for some time. I clearly identify with David’s plea for rest and comfort. There have been MANY nights where my mind won’t shut up and let me sleep. It turns over and Over and OVER the events of the day, what tomorrow holds, and especially my failures. I want to scream, “ENOUGH!” But that would wake the whole house and accomplish nothing.
I don’t know for certain what was troubling David that night but it looks like this psalm was written before he became king. Maybe during the time he was on the run from Saul. “O men, how long shall my honor be burned into shame. How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?” (verse 2).
During David’s flight from Saul there were factions that spoke evil of him, especially those loyal to Saul. David had done no wrong, yet these men were determined to find fault in him to justify their pursuit. Those who stood with David most certainly wished David would strike back and just end this. But David would NOT raise his hand against Saul or his Israelite brothers. He avoided fighting his own by running and/or turning to God for deliverance.
Can you imagine each night lying on your makeshift bed and wondering if tomorrow would bring the armies of Saul down on you? Maybe that night as you slept they would creep in and capture you. Night after night you would lay awake, listening to the sounds around you until you could stay awake no longer. Then you would wake with a start and resume your watch. This is NO WAY to live! On edge, sleep deprived, and always looking over your shoulder.
David realized this too. I wonder how long it took him to come to this conclusion. He had only two choices; become exhausted and be killed, or give the problem to the Lord. David had experience giving his troubles to the Lord. Maybe not his ‘night time’ ones yet but certainly his safety. He had seen his God work miracles on his behalf so he was ready to ask for one more. “Please! Let me lie down and rest. Watch over me through the night and quiet my mind so I can wake refreshed.”
And God answered him! God gave David a song in the night. One that quieted his spirit. One that spoke peace to his mind. One that gave him rest. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety” (verse 8).
Remember back to when I told you about my husband’s heart surgery and how this book got me through it? Well, one night I was in the same situation of restlessness as David. I wasn’t afraid of armies sneaking up on me in the night, but my fears were just as real. My husband was struggling. He had finally woken up after four and a half days on the ventilator. His lungs needed clearing but he was not alert enough to understand that he needed to cough or even breathe deep to do this. The nurses would do things to him to induce coughing and it would make him combative and make his nose blead. This night they had all but given up on making him cough. He was headed for pneumonia if he couldn’t clear his lungs.
He was still in the Cardiac Care Unit and I wasn’t allowed to stay with him overnight. We lived an hour from the hospital and I refused to be that far away. I would sleep every night in a quiet conference room in the waiting area instead. This night, as they sent me to ‘my room’ my heart was extremely heavy. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. As I lay on the couch trying to fall asleep, my mind kept replaying the conversation with the nurses where they said there was nothing more they could do. He would have to clear his lungs on his own. Then images of him in the helpless state he was in flooded my mind. He was so cognitively depressed that he wasn’t even able to speak more than the word “yes” and sometimes follow one step directions.
That night I felt extremely pressed upon to pray. I got up from my bed and started praying while pacing the room. After a short time I began letting the Holy Spirit pray through me. During this time, images of him spewing green mucus from his mouth came to my mind. I also saw images of the nurses rejoicing. I wanted to run back down to the ward and check on him but I kept right on praying. I prayed until I felt the peace of the Lord settle on me. I still wanted to go check on the miracle I KNEW must have been happening at that moment, but I turned to songs of praise instead. I danced and sang to the Lord in my little room until I felt led to lie down and sleep. I fell asleep that night with praise on my lips and joy in my heart.
I awoke refreshed the next morning and as SOON as they would let me through the doors of the ward I was there. The nurses greeted me and told me of how they had him sitting up late last night and he just started coughing and clearing his lungs. His mind cleared up quite a bit too that night. They also told me about how they had all rejoiced at his improvement. I got to tell them that I already knew and how.
“I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4). “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). This is my testimony of my husband’s ‘re-birthday’! And just one more reason why I LOVE this psalm.
Father God, THANK YOU that You do hear me when I cry out to You. Thank You for giving me peace in the night. Not just for one night but EVERY time I come to You. Thank You for Your safety that surrounds me. Thank You for Your praises the fill my heart and for my song in the night. Remind me again, each time my mind won’t quiet, of the rest waiting for me when I turn my troubles over to You.