Few things are so enjoyable as a good sleep; whether it is a good night’s sleep after a hard day or a little nap after a big meal—sleep can be refreshing. The first person we know of who slept in the Bible was Adam. “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.” (Gen 2:21, KJV). God blesses us with sleep to renew our minds and bodies. He created us to need it and to use it wisely. He also uses it to speak to His people. He did so with Abraham, “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” (Gen 15:12-14).
We all remember the infamous dream of Jacob’s ladder, “And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Gen 28:11-12). God commanded fairness when He gave Moses the laws in Exodus and Deuteronomy, because He wanted people to be able to get a good night’s sleep. “If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.” (Ex 22:26-27). “And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.” (Deut 24:12-13).
Delilah discovered Samson’s strength by using his sleep against him, “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (Judg 16:19-20).
The Lord called Samuel to duty when he went to lay down to sleep, “And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.” (I Sam 3:3-4).
One night King Ahasuerus could not sleep, so he had his servants bring him the Lord’s book to read, and it was brought to his rememberance in his reading that he had not rewarded Mordecai for his faithfulness. The unfolding events led God’s people to be saved. (The Book of Esther).
The childhood nighttime prayer seems to have come from one of David’s psalms, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psa 4:8). Solomon’s wisdom flows over into the psalms as well, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 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.” (Psa 127: 1-2). And Solomon also wrote, “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. “ (Eccl 5:12-13).
God called Joseph to be the stepfather to Jesus as Joseph slept, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.” (Matt 1:20-24).
Our Lord Jesus was also known to sleep peacefully (and on a pillow), “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:38-39).
Can you imagine awaking from sleep and seeing what Peter, James, and John saw? “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.” (Luke 9:28-32). What a miraculous site to behold!
And let us forgive those who accidentally fall asleep in Church, for even the faithful fall to sleep, “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” (Acts 20:9-10).
So let us be ready to dream from the Lord; let us be ready to awaken to His miracles; and let us work ethically and honestly so we can enjoy a good night’s sleep.