A Good Night’s Rest
“And Israel (Jacob) took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel (Jacob) in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” Genesis 46:1-4
When I was little, I had a bunk bed that I shared with my older cousin while he lived with us for a time. He got the bottom bunk so I was relegated to the top. I got quite comfortable with the top bunk and when my cousin left, I would sometimes still sleep up there. My other cousin came over one night for a sleepover, and we would battle things out, although he would often get the best of me. He was a year older and bigger than me, and I could not seem to gain an advantage over him. That night, we decided to both sleep up on the top bunk, which was my first mistake.
We were horsing around until my parents told us to go to sleep. We did, and I was having a great time with Mr. Sandman until I was rudely awakened by the cement floor. My cousin said he was having a dream which caused him to push me off the bed, which still seems a questionable story at best. I was dazed and went to the bathroom to find a dent in my skull and blood pouring out of it. My head and knee were hurting, but I was too dazed to even cry. My mom heard the commotion and helped to stop the bleeding and brought me into my parents' bed for the night.
For a little boy, there is no safer place than being in your parents' bed. Although my head throbbed, my fears were put to rest and I fell right to sleep. In their bed, I felt protected from the evil of the world. I had no fears and no nightmares, and I treasured those times when I was allowed to sleep in their bed. Although I relished that comfort, there is no comfort like the comfort that comes from our Heavenly Father.
Israel (previously known as Jacob) had lived a full life and had experienced many things. His trek to Egypt was going to be the final journey for him as he was well along in years. He was overwhelmed with joy and anticipation to see his son, Joseph, who he thought was dead, but it is clear by these verses that he was also fearful. He was fearful to leave behind everything he knew and go to Egypt and face the unknown.
I have had some vivid dreams in my life, but none quite like Israel. God spoke to Israel through these dreams, and they always put his heart at rest. God reminded him of the promises that He had given to his father and grandfather, and reassured him that out of his descendants would grow a great nation. I am sure the promise of seeing Jospeh again was the icing on the cake as God told him that he would once again be in the presence of his beloved son. I imagine that Israel’s rest was sweet the rest of that night after hearing God in the vision. There is no one who brings comfort like our Lord. Proverbs 3:24 states, “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”
Are you having trouble sleeping because fear or worry occupies your thoughts? Is your rest sweet, or does it evade you like a matador? Ask God to remind you of the promises He has laid out for you in His Word. Psalm 23:4 states, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Even in the valley of death, our God is ever with us. Will you rest in Him, or will you wrestle with your worries and fears? May we remember our God is always with us, and may our sleep be sweet as we rest in Him.
Stay in the fight!