“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)
The New England Primer was a popular Puritan tutorial taught to millions of young colonists. On one page is the familiar children’s prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” The repeated phrase “I pray thee” implies a troubling uncertainty, a questioning of Yahweh’s ability to guard the believer at all times—an uncertainty nowhere found in David’s DNA!
Psalm 4 is inseparably connected with Psalm 3, written when King David fled from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15 to 18) and was also hunted by thousands of enemy Israelites. Even against these seemingly insurmountable odds, God’s elect finds unilateral protection in his Deliverer.
Two key verses balance this assuring theme. The image in verse 4b is of one meditating silently on one’s bed: “Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” Verse 8, today’s text, closes with the image of sleeping in safety. Integrating these theological truths of the Almighty alters our children’s prayer to read, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I confidently trust the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I confidently trust the Lord my soul to take.”
Believer, you can trust Yahweh when you sleep because “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me” (Psalm 3:5). You can also trust Yahweh when you are approaching death because “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).
Believer, let these truths pierce deeply into your saved soul so you can get a good night’s sleep! CM
Days of Praise Podcast is a podcast based on the Institute for Creation Research quarterly print devotional, Days of Praise. Start your day with devotional readings written by Dr. Henry Morris, Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. John Morris, and others to strengthen and encourage you in your Christian faith.