Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Four kinds of Sleep

Sleep. Many of us are tired and feel we would like to sleep more. I think of our children when they were babies, I would sit in the rocking chair, rocking the baby to sleep. It is so beautiful to watch a baby sleep -  a perfect picture of peace. I have been really blessed to have had the chance to rock my four beautiful babies to sleep night after night in years gone by.
What is the dictionary definition of the word sleep?  I decided to look it up. It says sleep is a natural state of rest for the mind and body. We all know how important it is to get a good nights sleep. It is just so much easier to cope with the stresses of life if you have had a good night. Sometimes our minds are filled with  worry and we struggle to get a good nights sleep and I admit it happens to me occasionally as well.
I want to explore the various ways of sleep that the Bible talks about. There are at least four types of sleep mentioned in the Bible - the normal sleep, the sleep of Adam, the sleep of death and finally a person or church being asleep spiritually.

So let's start with normal sleep. Psalm 4:8 - I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalm 127:2 - It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
We see that it is God's desire to give us a good sleep at night. He wants to give us His beloved children peace and safety in our sleep.We also need to rest our bodies and minds regularly taking rest as God did.
 God created the world in six days and then on the seventh day He rested from His work. So we also need to rest from our work week and set aside a day for God as He planned it for us.
Proverbs 3:24 -When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Secondly, there is the sleep of Adam. When God decided to create Eve as a wife for Adam, He put Adam to sleep for the process. Genesis 2:21-22 -And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

God put Adam to sleep, then took one of Adam's ribs, closed up the flesh, and using the rib that He took from Adam, God made Eve as a wife for Adam.  It would appear that God performed the first surgery ever!! We have many medical professionals in our hospitals today and many of us have been helped by their expertise and  the great work they do. Without anesthesetics, it would not be possible today, but God used a supernatural "sleep" to do his work in that garden to create the first woman.

Thirdly, there is the sleep of death. How many times haven't we marveled as we viewed our loved ones at a funeral or wake. It seems they are just asleep, so peaceful and quiet.  I remember when my Dad passed away. I wasn't there when he passed away, but when we got the call that he had gone we drove to the hospital. The family gathered in his hospital room to begin the process of saying "good-bye" and " see you later". He seemed to just be asleep there in the hospital bed.  As a family we sang his favorite song " How Great Thou Art"  - the song goes "when Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my soul, Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, and there proclaim, My God how Great Thou art!"
We all know that we all must experience this sleep of death unless Jesus descends from heaven to come get us before our lifetime is over.
Psalm 13:3 - Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Daniel 12:2 -And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt

And fourthly let us consider the condition of being asleep spiritually.
Jesus tells us to be alert and watching for His return. We do not know the day or hour of His return but we do know that we need to prepare now so that when He does come we will be ready to go home to heaven with Him. In Mark 13: 35-37 we read -
 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
 36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
 37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
We know that we are not watching for the Lord as we should when we become "lukewarm" in our faith and in our desire to live pleasing to the Lord. In a "lukewarm" condition the pleasures of the world draw people into the things of the world  and God no longer has first place in the lives of these people. A "lukewarm" person will fill his/her mind with thoughts of this world,  perhaps money seems the most important in life, or fashion, TV, or popularity, or sex becomes what the mind dwells on. Jesus talks about this "lukewarm" condition in Revelation 3 in the message to the church at Laodicea. Many preachers today believe churches today are at risk of falling into this kind of "sleep". Revelation 3 :15 -16 says  15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
So we see that Jesus says he will spue the lukewarm person out of His mouth.  We are not pleasing Christ if we are lukewarm towards Him. But He loving calls us to become true to Him and open the door of our heart and life to Him and become one of His true children.
In Revelation 3:19-21 Jesus says - 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Let's stay in the Word, be alert and awake, looking for the coming of our Lord!

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