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Psalm 4:8

Psalm 4:8
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Ps 4:8, “In peace, I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone, O YHWH, make me dwell in safety.”

Sleep can be the process of rest and waking that we go through every night, but Scripture also speaks of death as sleep (Jn 11:11; 1 Thess.4:13-18). The one who lives in covenant with YHWH and entrusts themselves to Him lies down and sleeps the sleep of death in peace because YHWH his God makes him dwell in safety. Notice, when we apply Ps.4:8 to the sleep of death, the implication is that death, though an end, is not the end because the one who has lain down and slept the sleep of death in YHWH does not cease to live (for “all live to Him” Lk 20:38), rather, he continues to dwell in the peaceful and unassailable safety of YHWH Himself. Death holds no terror for the one found in YHWH. They are able to lie down in peace, knowing that—even as they sleep in the womb of the earth, awaiting new birth—they dwell with their Lord and God. Every night when we entrust ourselves to the Lord in sleep, we are rehearsing our death, and every morning when we wake because He has sustained us, we are rehearsing resurrection.

Finally, these words must be applied to Him of whom all Psalms speak, and in whom alone any Psalm may be applied to anyone other than Him: the crucified and risen Jesus. Jesus is foundationally and finally the one to whom these words apply. He is the one who willingly and peacefully lays His life down in the sleep of death (Jn 10:18), knowing that He will dwell in the safety of His God and Father (Jn 13:3, 14:28 etc.). Jesus enters the sleep of Death and the night of Curse as and for His people, committing Himself wholly into the hands of His Father. And because of this, He also wakes again, sustained through the night by the covenant faithfulness of God (Ps.3:5, Heb.12:20-21).

Because HE entered the sleep of death in peace and woke from that sleep in joy, we too, in Him, may lie down peacefully in that same bed, knowing that while we sleep we will dwell in safety, united to the woken one who slept this Night in our place, and that we will—in Him—certainly wake again, sustained by and satisfied in our Lord and our God (Ps.3:5, 17:15).