Short Meditations in Psalms: 3.5 Security or Supply
Psa 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
Whether David means this is the Lord’s response to his prayer or is what he normally knows as the Lord’s provision is unclear. It is perhaps both; he normally knows the Lord’s provision but when he prays that provision is intensified if you like, for that surely is how it is so often.
As a verse it sounds so simple – unless you are someone who is kept awake by worries! Worries must be one of the prime reasons we cannot sleep. When we have anxieties they seem to go round and round and round and just do not stop. When your life is under threat, as David’s is at this time, that must be doubly so.
Worries, concerns, anxieties, call them what you will, are a natural response when life turns bad, when things go wrong, when accidents occur and when people turn hostile. All of these things are difficult to handle and so all of them raise the emotional temperature of life. This is especially so when we can do nothing to change the situation except wait. If you read David’s story in respect of Absalom, he had to run, but he also trusted an old counsellor back in Absalom’s court to slow things down. There will no doubt come a battle sometime as Absalom will bring his forces against David but until then all he can do is wait, and waiting times are sometimes the worst; uncertainty is a real cause for concern, i.e. worry!
So, yes, David has every reason to sleep badly! The thing is with life, we need sleep! We can cut back on the hours we sleep but only for a limited time before it starts having a physical impact on us in our waking hours. But now, whether it is the result of his prayers or his long term knowledge of the Lord, he is able to say, “I lie down and sleep.” That is actually a testimony. It says, “I have peace”. If you are someone who really sleeps well, don’t take it for granted; thank the Lord for it.
But he adds, “I wake again.” Again, so simple, but it says, ”I have survived the night.” It sounds so obvious but knowing his own experience in the past with Saul, he knows it is possible for an enemy to creep in during the night and kill. But, no, he is secure!
And why? “because the LORD sustains me.” The word sustains suggests not so much protection as a supply that resources him. The Lord as his shield (v.3) is his protector, but now there is something more than that, the Lord is the provider of peace and peace is the assurance of security, isn’t it. When we are at peace we feel secure. Perhaps part of it is the assurance that the Lord is in control and He will look after me. With that sure knowledge I can sleep.