I lie down and sleep…(a reflection on Psalm 3)

‘I lie down and sleep;

I wake again because the Lord sustains me.’

~ Psalm 3:5


Have a look at the Psalm in its entirety:

(A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom)

1 Lord, how my foes increase!

There are many who attack me.

2 Many say about me,

“There is no help for him in God.”


3 But You, Lord, are a shield around me,

my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.

4 I cry aloud to the Lord,

and He answers me from His holy mountain.


5 I lie down and sleep;

I wake again because the Lord sustains me.

6 I am not afraid of the thousands of people

who have taken their stand against me on every side.

7 Rise up, Lord!

Save me, my God!

You strike all my enemies on the cheek;

You break the teeth of the wicked.

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;

may Your blessing be on Your people.

Selah                                                     (HCSB)

As someone who has struggled long term with sleep issues (and ain’t quite out of it yet), the ‘sleeping Psalms’ (Psalm 3 and 4) were up on my wall for reading before I went to bed. The image of sleep is a striking representation of trust in God. A lovely one: I lay me down, God to work, God must work, I have nothing. Rest as trust – there is a concreteness there. We can know what that should look like because all of us have slept at some time – it involves an utter falling back to rest in God and Him being God, when we are not.

However, thoughts continuing along those lines are perhaps better suited for Psalm 4. In Psalm 3 the focus is on something else. In the midst of obvious difficulties, there is present in 3:5 a beautifully intimate picture of the most dependent and personal kind of sustaining. Indeed it’s the kind of sustaining that happens when there are real troubles on the go. Look at David. How can he trust the Lord? People are out to get him, in the worst sense. They are sprouting cries of ‘God ain’t gonna help you Dave! – he’s no help to you!’ (v.1-2). These things lead to a declaration and cry of trust in God from David (v.3-4).

And then we have verses 5-8. It ends with a type of vindication of David (carried on into Ps 4 actually) – this is part of David’s hope (cf. this theme in 1 Peter). And it starts with this gentle picture in verse 5 of the Lord’s sustaining. As David faces the difficult reality of v. 6, here is his comfort and strength. It is that the God he is trusting in, is the One who enables him. He is your enabler. Your sustainer. The only reason you can rise the next day is because this One takes your hand to get you up, and to lead you on. This is our God. This is the One I can and must trust, no matter what’s going on.

‘I lie down and sleep;

I wake again because the Lord sustains me.’

You may also find useful: Despair, meet hope

Creator God

The beginning, God.

He creates; He forms.

Out of darkness, He dawns,

Out of watery chaos, He subdues.


Where to begin? God.

He recreates; He re-forms.

Out of darkness, He draws.

Out of utter chaos, He soothes.


Rest my soul and start

At the beginning

With the One who takes

And makes and… keeps.

Who settles and subdues

And rules with goodly power

He shapes the whole creation

And He certainly holds you.

(Gen 1:1-2; John 1:1-2)


Waves and Fire


Ever wondered why we sit


Before waves and fire?


Strangely at ease and peace


The constant ebb and flow

Water rising, water falling.

Moving, persistently

A beauty in the swelling and crashing

The water comforts our troubled thoughts?


The burning and cracking

Licking at wood.

Fiery, moving

Dancers of the flames

Shifting about

Captivates us


Could it be

That for once

Their constant motion

Renders us quiet

Still for a moment

A pause to reflect

As the business of our lives


while watching the busyness of theirs?


Could it be too

That before the One

mightier than the crashing waves

Who is Himself a consuming fire.

That perhaps sitting before this One.

There could also be reason.

To pause

From the activities that bind

And consume us

As we rest in Him who is working

Sovereignly and for our good in Christ?

Despair, meet hope.

I awake in weariness

Unable to rise

The thought of the day saps.


Troubles bear burdens

Despair sits as lead

The weight of a mountain descended

Leaving me still in bed.


Oh, Come Lord Jesus, come!

Come drive this all away

Come usher in the new.

Won’t you…



The utter lifting of burdens

The casting off of all dread

The light brilliantly shining, piercing

Glory of God revealed, in full.


This is to come,

He will return.


What of the now?


There is still a lifting

of burdens to be had

A strength when we have none.

There is One who says:

‘My grace is sufficient,

My power

made perfect in weakness.’

And still he says:


All you who are

burdened and heavy laden


I will give you rest.’


And so, in my weakness

Lord be my strength

Your shoulders broader than mine

To bear what I cannot

(…and should not?)


And for my downcast soul

Perspective needs to flood

A clearing of the fog, with

Eyes to see your goodness

and sovereignty and love.


You are

Constant and faithful

And every bit true.


Your intrinsic worth and immeasurable value of majesty

your cross and sin bearing goodness.

You are!


In gentleness take my hand

And lead me on.

The Resurrection hope awaits

And joy, even now, through the clouds,

breaks in.



Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

~ Psalm 73:25-26