It’s an understatement that we should take seriously our sleep. From a physical perspective, there are a variety of studies out there which show significant increases in the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease for those who consistently miss a good night’s rest. Don’t ignore your sleepless nights.
Of course, watch the caffeine, put down the technology, and get to bed at a decent hour. But beyond improving your sleep hygiene and habits, there’s a spiritual aspect to this condition. C.H. Spurgeon preached a message on this subject (oh yes, he did), on Sunday, March 4, 1855. It’s entitled The Peculiar Sleep of the Beloved1, taken from Psalm 127:2, “For so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
Last week, I wrote a post on a goal of mine: to read through a ten volume set of his sermons on Saturday nights to prepare my heart for worship on Sunday mornings. I’m midway through this first big green book (volumes 1-2), and I’m loving the journey.
Mr. Spurgeon begins his message with an axiom, “The sleep of the body is the gift of God.” He then proceeds to lay out six types of blessings that are yielded from miraculous slumbers. I’d like to share an excerpt from his second point with you, “the sleep of a quiet conscience.”
Look at Peter. Did you ever notice that remarkable passage, where it is said that Herod intended to bring out Peter on the morrow; but, behold, as Peter was sleeping between two guards, the angel smote him? Sleeping between two guards, when on the morrow he was to be crucified or slain! He cared not, for his heart was clear; he had committed no ill. He could say, “If it be right to serve God or man, judge ye;” and, therefore, he laid him down and slept.
O sirs! do ye know what the sleep of a quiet conscience is? Have you ever stood out and been the butt of calumny—pelted by all men; the object of scorn—the laugh, the song of drunkards? And have ye known what it is, after all, to sleep, as if you cared for nothing, because your heart was pure?
Ah! ye who are in debt—ah! ye who are dishonest—ah! ye who love not God, and love not Christ—I wonder ye can sleep, for sin doth put pricking thorns in the pillow. Sin puts a dagger in a man’s bed, so that whichever way he turns it pricks him. But a quiet conscience is the sweetest music that can lull the soul to sleep. The demon of restlessness does not come to that man’s bed who has a quiet conscience—a conscience right with God—who can sing,
“With the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace shall be.”
“So he giveth his beloved sleep.” [Psalm 127:2]
But let me tell you who have no knowledge of your election in Christ Jesus, no trust in the ransom of a Saviour’s blood—you, who have never been called by the Holy Ghost—you, who were never regenerated and born again—let me tell you that you do not know this slumber.
You may say your conscience is quiet; you may say, you do no man any wrong, and that you believe at the bar of God you shall have little to account for. But, sirs, you know that the soul that sinneth, if it sins but once, must die.
If the picture has a single flaw, it is not a perfect one. If ye have sinned but once, ye shall be damned for it, unless ye have something to take away that one sin. Ye do not know this sleep, but the Christian does, for all his sins were numbered on the “scape-goat’s head of old.”
Christ has died for all his sins however great or enormous; and there is not now a sin written against him in the Book of God. “I, even I,” says God, “am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for My Name’s sake, and I will not remember thy sins.”
Now thou mayest sleep; for “so he giveth his beloved sleep.”