This devotional first appeared in https://www.islandsadventist.org
Scripture: I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. Psalm 3:5 (NLT)
Observation: I laid me down. The pronoun “I” is emphatic. David represents himself as in danger of attack at any moment during the night, hunted and cursed by his enemies, nevertheless able to lie down in peace and sleep, so great was his trust in God. Since everything was in God’s hands, he had a sense of complete protection. His sleep was not mere weariness or indolence or presumption; it was an act of faith. Internal calm nerved him for the next day’s fight.
The Lord sustained me. The first waking thought is one of recognition that God had honored the trust placed in Him, even as his last thought on going to sleep had been one of complete confidence. The psalmist is strengthened to meet the needs of the day. The last thoughts of the night are often the first thoughts of the day. Note the sudden dramatic change from depression to triumph. Such is the benediction of the night and the promise of the new day (see Lam. 3:22, 23). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 3. 1977 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (636–637). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]
Application: Countless numbers of children have been taught to repeat every night the bedtime prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Innocently children have been taught that we have a soul inside of us which lies in God’s hands when we sleep, and which, if we die, He is free to keep for Himself forever. In a way it’s a bit scary, for a child, to learn that it is God’s arbitrary, maybe even selfish, choice to decide whose “soul” He chooses to keep for Himself and which ones He chooses to return to the body of a child so he/she may awake.
The psalmist writes a morning prayer in which he thanks God for keeping him safe and for watching over him throughout the night. As important as it is to pray with our children at bedtime, we need to make sure that we teach them not to fear God with the thought that He may keep their soul but rather with the assurance of His watchful care for them while they sleep. And then, first thing in the morning, pray with them so they can thank Him for His protection overnight thus teaching them gratitude for each new day of their life.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You for a new day of life and health, and thank You for watching over us last night as we slept.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.