A Biblical Sedative for a Sleepless Night Psalms 3

It is 3:00 am and I am wide awake. I am physically exhausted,
but my mind won’t shut down. Ever been there? Of course you
have! We all have nights when sleep evades us. You would think
that after a super busy day, all my mind and body would want to
do would be to quickly fall asleep. Sadly, though, that is often not
the case. A busy and stressful day often leads to a restless
My problem is not falling asleep, but rather staying asleep. I tend
to wake up several times throughout the night (one of the
challenges of getting older). That is when the problem begins.
For some reason, a quick trip to the bathroom often turns into an
hour or more of restlessness.
One anonymous writer documented the nightly conversation with
his brain.
Me: “Please let me sleep!”
Brain: “Nope, we have to stay up together and go over every
bad life decision we have made so far.”
I can relate! I regularly live out the words of the English Poet
Charlotte Bronte, who stated, “A ruffled mind makes for a restless
pillow.” Even though I do everything physically and mentally
possible to keep my mind turned off, it insists on turning itself on.
Sometimes, I feel like there is a direct connection between my
feet moving and my brain activating. Maybe the on/off switch to
my brain in located in my feet?
Where can we find help for sleepless nights? Of course, our best
remedy is not to watch television, surf the internet or even read a
good book. Our best sedative is found in God’s Word.

The Psalms offer help for sleepless nights. For many people,
the Psalms serve as God’s divine sedative for a troubled
heart. The potent mixture of soothing poetry and the power
of God’s Word has the ability to calm your anxious thoughts

and to put your mind to rest.
Although many of the Psalms can serve as a night time
tranquilizer, I believe that Psalms 3 and 4 provide the keys to a
good night’s sleep. These “bookend” psalms were written by
David during a time of personal struggle.
• The inscription before Psalm 3 tells us that David was on the
verge of loosing his kingdom (Psalm 3:1). That is not the worst
of it, though. The main conspirator was his own son Absalom.
If that will not keep you up at night, I do not know what will.
• Like Psalm 3, Psalm 4 was composed during a time of distress
(Psalm 4:1).
Yet, in spite of deep personal pain, uncertainty and physical
danger, David was able to sleep. Read these two tremendous
testimonial verses...
Psalm 3:5 - I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord
sustained me.
Psalm 4:8 - In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you
alone, O Lord make me to dwell in safety.
How was David able to sleep when his son was rebelling against
him? I cannot imagine anything more painful than the hurt and
betrayal of one of your children. How could David lay down in
peace when he was surrounded by the enemy?
Well, there are four words in Psalms 3 and 4 that give us an
insight into the source of David’s restful sleep. Let’s take a deep
dive into these two Psalms and gain some insight into how to
sleep in the midst of a stressful situation.

Verses 1-2 establish the setting of this Psalm. David’s peaceful
reign and united kingdom were suddenly divided by Absalom’s
rebellion. Through his beautiful countenance, charm and cunning
deception, David’s oldest son was able to steal the kingdom
away from him. As a result, fear dominated David’s thoughts and
he finds himself fleeing his palace and running for his life (See II
Samuel 15:1-37).
As he lay outside, under the stars, surrounded by his enemies,
and unsure if he would ever be able to return to his beloved
Jerusalem, he wrote...
Psalm 3:3 - But you, O Lord, are a SHIELD about me,
my glory and the lifter of my head.
The shield was a common Old Testament image that represented
protection. It was a warrior’s best defense against the arrows
and the blows of the enemy. The word “shield” is used
repeatedly throughout the book of Psalms (3:3; 28:7; 33:20;
84:11) to represent God’s protection over His servants.
In this instance David is declaring his faith in God’s
protection over him. Humanely speaking, he may be
outnumbered, out strategized and out resourced, but with

God as his shield, no one can touch him.

Psalm 3:5 - I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the
The second word is “sustained.” It is an interesting term. It is
used 48 times in the Old Testament and has a variety of
meanings. It was the word Isaac used when he spoke of
blessing Jacob (Genesis 27:37). It describes how the High Priest
laid his hands on the sacrificial lamb (Leviticus 3:2,8,13; 4:4,15)

It was the term used when Moses laid his hands on Joshua and
passed the mantel of leadership (Deuteronomy 34:9).
Here in Psalm 3, David is using the word differently. He is saying
that God upholds him, supports him and sustains him. It is
almost as if David is saying that He is sleeping in God’s
supportive arms.
There is nothing more soothing for a child than to fall asleep
in the arms of their mother or father. There is an
overwhelming sense of peace, comfort and security. That is
what David is describing in this verse. Although he is away
from home, on the run, and fearing for his life. He is able to

sleep soundly, for the Lord is “holding” him.
Psalm 3:8 - SALVATION belongs to the Lord; Your
blessings be on Your people! Selah
Verses 7-8 reveal David’s confident assertion of the Lord’s
ultimate salvation. “Arise, O Lord” is military terminology. David
is asking the Lord to fight on his behalf.
David could not win the battle alone. It was the Lord who would
strike down David’s enemies; God would break their teeth. In
God’s hands, they were nothing more than toothless tigers.
He knew that Absalom’s treacherous desire to usurp the
throne could not be successful unless it was God’s will.
David’s future was in God’s hands, not Absalom’s.
Psalm 4:8 - In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for
you alone, O Lord, make me dwell (sleep) in SAFETY.
The final word is “safety.” Every night I check the doors of our
home to make sure they are locked. I will even get out of bed to
check them if I failed to do my nightly door check. In order for

me to sleep peacefully, it is important to know that the house is
David realizes that his ultimate safety is not because of the
guards who are scattered around the camp, but rather in God
who is there with him. David is not alone. God’s presence gives
David a sense of confident security.
So, the next time you find yourself awake in the middle of the
night, allow the inspired poetry of Psalms 3 and 4 to sedate
you and calm your mind and heart. Remember that God is
your shield, your sustainer, your salvation and your security.
Focus your mind and heart on Him and remember He is present with you.
-Pastor Brian





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