Awake Out of Sleep!
Study No. 118
Recently, our family has had a problem sleeping. As a result, we felt a need for us to study the subject of sleep in the Bible. Some people canít sleep. Others sleep too much. The Bible says much about sleep. On one hand, it the gift of God. On the other hand, sleep is a type of spiritual blindness prevalent in the last days among Godís Church. It is high time that we be awake for God, doing His will. Let us examine what the Bible says about sleep.
God Caused a Deep Sleep ó For a Purpose
In Genesis 2:21 we are told that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, so that He could take a rib from him to create Eve. A rib, from his side, so it is said, demonstrates that woman was to be a fitting help along side man. Not from his head to rule over him, nor from his feet to be trampled over by him.
God gave a deep sleep to Abram in Genesis 15:12 to show him the prophecy that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt four hundred years. The Eternal caused a deep sleep to fall upon Saul and his men, I Samuel 26:12, so that David would know that he could trust in the Almighty for protection from his enemies.
Dreams and Visions from the Almighty
Job 4:12-13, "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men."
Job 33:14-18 "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword."
Jacob was asleep on "pillow stones" when he was given his vision about the ladder up into heaven, Genesis 28:11-16. The Eternal called Samuel out of his sleep, I Samuel 3:1-10.
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon couldnít sleep because his dreams troubled him and he couldnít understand them, Daniel 2:1. God caused these dreams and revealed their meaning to Daniel for us. Daniel had prophetic visions while in a deep sleep, Daniel 8:18, 10:9.
The angel of the LORD revealed the truth about Maryís conception to Joseph in a dream, Matthew 1:18-25.
The transfiguration vision was given after three disciples were asleep, Luke 9:32, Matthew 17:1-9.
We Are Not to Deny Others Their Sleep
In old times, people slept using their outer garment as a cover. Statutes forbid taking this garment,
Exodus 22:27, "For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious."
Deuteronomy 24:12-13, "And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God."
Sleep is Compared to Death
"Slept with his fathers" is a frequent Biblical expression signifying death, e.g. Deuteronomy 31:16; I Kings 11:21, 43; II Chronicles 21:1; Acts 13:36.
Job 14:12-15, "So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands."
John 11:11-14, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
Mischief Sometimes Happens While We Sleep
Samson slept while Delilah had his hair cut, Judges 16:15-21.
In the parable of the sower of good seed, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat while he slept, Matthew 13:24-30.
Times When It is Not Good to Sleep
The disciples slept in the Garden of Gethsemene, and were not awake during Jesus' difficult time, Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:37, Luke 22:45.
The officer guarding the prison where Paul and Silas were kept was asleep on the job, Acts 16:27.
Young Eutychus was asleep while Paul was preaching, and fell out of a window to his death, Acts 20:7-12.
Peaceful Sleep Comes From God
Psalm 4:8, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety."
Psalm 127:1-5, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Psalm 121:1-8, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."
Proverbs 6:20-23, "My son, keep thy fatherís commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life."
Proverbs 3:21-26, "My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken."
Hardworking laborers have sweet sleep, but rich men never satisfied with their wealth, always striving for more riches have a hard time sleeping: "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep," Ecclesiastes 5:12.
Lack of Sleep
The king of Persia couldnít sleep, Esther 6:1. King Darius the Mede couldnít sleep while his friend Daniel was in the lions' den, Daniel 6:18.
David wouldnít sleep until he built a house for God:
Psalm 132:3-5, "Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob."
The wicked canít sleep unless they have done evil to someone:
Proverbs 4:16, "For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall."
Sluggards Sleep Too Much
Proverbs 6:6-11, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
Proverbs 10:5, "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame."
Proverbs 19:15, "Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."
Proverbs 20:13, "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread."
Spiritual Blindness is Compared to Deep Sleep
Isaiah 29:10, "For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered."
Isaiah 56:10-11, "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."
Jeremiah 51:39, 57, "In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord . . . . And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts."
Notice that in all three of the above passages, the leaders, prophets and shepherds are the ones spiritually asleep.
Godís Church Today Is Spiritually Asleep
All the disciples at the end time will be sleeping:
Matthew 25:1-5, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. We need to awake out of sleep, be awake for God."
Romans 13:11-12, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
I Thessalonians 5:5-10, "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."
Ephesians 5:14, "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
The false "god," Baal, is asleep, I Kings 18:27. We need to awake out of our sleep and implore the true God to awake and deliver us:
Psalm 44:22-26, "Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake."
Today, the Church of God is spiritually asleep as the Eternal said it would be. The Savior is standing at the door, knocking to come in. Will we awake and let him into our hearts and minds?
True Revival Needed Today
"Revival" is not a popular term in Sabbath keeping circles today. It sounds too "Protestant." The word "revival" merely means, "to live again." Todayís churches are nearly dead spiritually. At best they are lukewarm to the truth of the Almighty. Whether we like it or not, a true revival, an awakening up to living by the Holy Spirit, is vitally necessary today.
Why arenít people today "on fire," really living for the Almighty and His Truth? (The following points were adapted from the article, "Fire From Heaven" by Del Fehsenfeld, Jr.)
(1) We donít think we need revival. The Laodicean condition is prevalent. People are satisfied with what they are doing, and are not motivated to cry out to God to give them zeal from Heaven. We donít need more financial support, more volunteers, more equipment to do the work of the Almighty. What we really need is more of Godís Holy Spirit within us! Why is divorce prevalent even within the so-called church? Why are church splits so common? Why do brethren argue over the most picky little points? Why is the world so utterly uninterested in what we have to offer? Because by and large, the Eternalís people think they are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."
(2) We really donít want revival. Oh, people may say they want more of the Holy Spirit, but they are like those in Timothyís day, who want more to hear non-controversial subjects than stern sharp rebuke and a call to repentance, II Timothy 4:1-4. People are more concerned with protecting their "self image" than in conforming to Godís image!
(3) We donít believe it can happen today. We are acting as if we believe that miracles such as the Day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. cannot happen today. One man recently wrote me, chastising me for attempting to preserve the truths we have been given by my writing articles. Since I am not an ordained minister, he feels I am wrong in what I am doing. "The scriptures indicate," he said, "this last time is not to be a growth period." So he is doing nothing to preserve the Truth. He is waiting for Elijah to do that. I am so glad that others who helped me come into the Truth didnít have the "do nothing" attitude of this man!
(4) We arenít willing to pay the price to get it. There is no gain without pain. We cannot obtain the glory of the resurrection without first suffering the agony of the impalement. Plowing up hard, uncultivated ground is difficult. It takes much work to obtain the fruit of the harvest. It takes sacrifice to be revitalized by the Holy Spirit. We may have to give up our reputation, not giving heed to what others think about us, but being more concerned with what the Creator thinks. We may have to bear criticism, misunderstanding and rejection of long and dear friends. Under certain circumstances, for the sake of the Truth, we may have to give up our jobs, or our life savings. Daily, we must be like young Isaac, willing to lay down ourselves on the altar.
Do we want the zeal of the Almighty? How badly do we want it? Are we willing to pay the price? The old song that we used to sing in the Baptist church still has a strong message for us:
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love.
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Revive us again!
Church of God, let us awake! W
Bible Study Index