January 9, 2007
"That night the king could not sleep." (Esther 6:1)
"..He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121: 3b-4)
The National Sleep Foundation reports that forty-eight percent of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 22 percent experience insomnia every or almost every night. Another report that I found said that one in every five people suffer with stress-related insomnia. That's not just being unable to sleep for some reason. That's one in five people not sleeping because of worry, anxiety or stress factors in their lives. I have to admit that I don't really get it, because I have been blessed with the amazing ability to sleep through anything and despite anything. But if the stats are true, some of you may have this problem.
I would like to take you back in time for a few moments to Susa. All hell was about to break loose. One of the earliest examples of anti-Semitism was about to take place. A madman named Haman had convinced the King to carry out a total destruction of the Jews living in Susa. Haman also had an individual hatred for one particular Jew named Mordecai. Because this Mordecai wouldn't bow down to Haman, he, his wife and his friends decided to build a gallows and have Mordecai hanged on it in the morning. Don't you know that the devil loves to plot your demise in the dark?
But...."That night the king could not sleep.." (Esther 6:1) A day of divine reversal was about to dawn. The sound of sawing and hammers pounding could be heard throughout the kingdom as Haman's plot was unfolding. But the king was also awake. Asking that the book of the chronicles and record of his reign be brought to him and read, the king probably figured that the boredom would lull him to sleep. But he sat straight up when he heard that there was a man named Mordecai who had previously exposed an assassination plot to kill the king. And nothing had been done to honor this man. So at the same time that the gallows were being built, the plan to honor Mordecai was being set in motion as well. The entire course of Jewish history was changed because..."That night the king could not sleep." (for the rest of this amazing story, read the Book of Esther)
There is a quote from "Finding Favor with the King" by Tommy Tenney, that I have never forgotten. "The same night that Satan plans your demise, your King is planning your reward!" God is the King who never sleeps. Satan is quite an idiot, if you'll excuse my words! He thinks that if he plans and plots your destruction in the dark, if he can hide in the shadows of the night and if he can keep you up worrying about it, that he'll be sure to succeed. I guess he forgot some of his Bible knowledge. Satan does know the Scriptures, you know (look at Matthew 4: 6). What Scriptures did he forget, you may ask? Let's take a look...
How about Psalm 121: 3b-4 that says, "He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep?" "Indeed" in the Hebrew means "surely" in an emphatic tone. Emphatically the Word tells us that God does not sleep or slumber. One Hebrew use of "slumber" means "drowsy". God doesn't even get drowsy! He's up all night. So that you don't have to be!
How about Psalm 143: 8, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love." Good news will come in the morning after the King has been at work in the middle of the night. Lamentations 3: 23 says that God's mercies are "new every morning". While the hammers are pounding the nails in the gallows for your destruction, God is putting the finishing touches on new mercies for you to receive in the morning. And always remember Psalm 30: 5b: "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
The King is always awake. Preparing His best for you. Preparing to honor you, just like Mordecai.
Don't be afraid of the dark. I know that it seems fierce. Pain seems to intensify in the dark hours of the night. So does fear. But the Bible says that "even the darkness will not be dark to you [God]; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you [God}." (Psalm 139: 12) God is up, awake and it is not dark to Him. Jesus is the Light of the World.
I have had to learn this lesson in an interesting way. Someone very dear to me has gotten themselves on an "up all night, sleep all day" schedule. When I'm sleeping, this person is out and about, somewhere, who knows where? My Heavenly Father has brought all of these Words to my remembrance and I pray them back to Him each night, entrusting my loved one into His care before I retire for the night. I can't do anything about it. I can't change anything by staying up all night and worrying. But He can! He's up. He's awake. He doesn't even get drowsy. And His eyes are on the one that I love. So why should I lose sleep? I can trust Him. You can too.
Tonight, get into your bed and feel the coolness of your pillow on your face and the warmth of your covers on your body. You may still be able to hear the nails being pounded on the gallows of Satan's destructive plan off in the distance. But remember, your King is walking the floors of Heaven. On this very night, the King won't sleep. And while Satan may be planning your demise, The King is planning the answer to your prayers and the honor that He will give you. You will awaken tomorrow to all of His new mercies. This one night, the night that the King can't sleep....could change the course of your history forever. Tonight, the King won't sleep, so why don't you?
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