A Theology of Sleep (Part Two)

A Theology of Sleep (Part Two)
David Gunner Gundersen
December 4, 2004

6. Theology: It is noble to sacrifice sleep for the honor of God (Psalm 132:3-5).  Therefore: Think of yourself as a soldier on a mission (especially when you’re tired).  The honor and reputation of the King are at stake.  Which is more important—“mission accomplished,” or rest?

“Surely I will not enter my house,
Nor lie on my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob” (Ps 132:3-5).

David is not committing to literally sacrifice all sleep until the temple is built, but is using sleep as a metaphor for rest and contentment. He is proclaiming that he will not allow himself to be satisfied or at rest until the Lord is honored with a permanent dwelling place.

There is a God-honoring restlessness that cannot retire until God is honored as He deserves—until His glory covers the earth like the waters cover the sea.

7. Theology: Loving sleep is dangerous, and has guaranteed consequences (Prov 20:13).  Therefore: Examine your heart:  Do you love sleep?  Not “Do you enjoy sleep?” but “Do you love sleep?”  Is it an idol?  Do you often sacrifice more important things for it?

Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food (Prov 20:13).

8. Theology: “A little more sleep” is the self-deceptive excuse of the sluggard (Prov 6:10; 24:33).  Therefore: Think about your thoughts.  Do you often hear yourself saying, “I’ll get up in five minutes”?  You are deceiving yourself.  Whenever you hear yourself think “just a little more,” be alarmed.  Learn your self-deceptive thoughts, and fight them on every front.  They are not insignificant.

“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest…” (Prov 6:10; 24:33).

9. Theology: Lack of sleep is a sacrifice of ministry and a mark of God’s servant (2 Cor 6:5; 11:27).  Therefore: Expect and plan and rejoice to give your sleep for the good of others and the glory of God.  People-lovers and world-changers are all tired people.

Die shriveled up, spent, and withered, for you will be raised from the dead.
Give your sleep so that others might be awakened.
End as a pile of ashes, not a pile of dust.
You can rest when you die.

10. Theology: Human sleep is a picture of eternal rest (Rev 21:25).  Therefore: Every night when you lie down to sleep, think of going Home and the eternal rest that you will have. You will probably not sleep in Heaven, but you will rest as you have never rested before. So labor now.

…there will be no night there… (Rev 21:25).

Heaven is an endless, active, glorious rest.


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