Rest: The Gift of God
I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.
I read this text from the Psalmist David and I am envious. I am envious of His understanding of the security and safety we have in the Lord. David articulates in this psalm that though his enemies may be all around him, He has had such a depth of experience with the Father that He is certain that He will preserve him.
David wrote this psalm when his own son Absalom sought to usurp the throne right out from under him (2 Sam 15:1-17:29). His own family sought his destruction, his death, and Absalom was winning the favor of the people, yet David knew His Father. He knew the One who guarded and protected Him. I am certain David experienced fear, doubt, worry and all the rest just like you and me. But David had a history with the Lord. He remembered His faithfulness and that prior experience with God informed Him about who He was and what he could expect from Him.
Where the text says "I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me," the word for "watching over me" used in the NLT is one word in Hebrew סמך (Samak), which means to lay hold of, to seize, establish, and to make unflinching. The sense of the word is to supply one with necessities and support. The Lord is not a passive observer, but a source of strength, a fortifier, or One who sures up another strengthening what may be lacking. David was confident God would take hold of Him and establish Him, rendering Him firm and secure regardless of the dire nature of His circumstances.
One of the beautiful things about the Bible is it is a record of others who have known our Father. It is a living text, a community text, designed to be read as a community, and written by an eclectic community. From it, when our own knees are weak and wobbly, we can find hope, strength, and revelation. I envy my brother David here because the confidence He displayed here is almost foreign to me currently. Yet I find strength and encouragement because David's understanding of God has been preserved in this text, so that in these moments I can pull from his faith, his life, his experiences with our Abba and be refreshed by truth.
God's gift to us in Christ is rest–A trusting dependence upon the immutability of His faithfulness. God desires we all will take heart and choose to lie down in safety knowing Who it is that watches over us, guarding us, and sustaining us. Rest is a gift, something we can enter into at any moment. Sometimes it is more difficult than others, and when that happens we can pull on the community of the faithful preserved in the Bible to remind us of who our Abba truly is. David's own family desired to kill him and seize his throne, yet the faithfulness of God acted like a beacon guiding weary David into the safe and secure harbor of rest.
My friends, who has God revealed Himself to be to you in your own History with Him? Meditate on that for a while. Make a short list of five ways God has demonstrated His faithfulness to you since you have known Him. Thank Him for His faithfulness and choose to lie down in safety and rest in His sustaining presence. Know that in your weaknesses He will supply what you lack, and choose to surrender responsibility for your circumstances to Him.