Something to know about sleep.
‘I lay down and slept [safely]; I awakened, for the Lord sustains me.’ – Psalms 3:5 AMP.
A lot of things happen both in our physical bodies and spirits when we sleep. Sleep in itself is a mystery that medial science cannot fully understand, but the word of God gives us a whole lot of insights into this mystery. Every earthly creature requires sleep, both humans and animals – which is a demonstration of God’s sovereignty over creation. The fact that we sleep shows that we are not as powerful or mighty as we would love to think, because sleep is indicative of the fact that we often need rest.
However, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not need sleep, because tiredness is not part of the Divine Nature. This is what David referred to when he wrote: ‘Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber [briefly] nor sleep [soundly].’ – Psalm 121:4 AMP. Have you ever considered the fact that no one could actually decide not to sleep for three days on a stretch? Of course you could do that with food and decide to not eat for three days, maybe you just want to stay on juice or water, but that’s impossible with sleep. This tells me that we are not really in control as we would love to be, don’t you think?
How God uses sleep.
God created sleep for a purpose, and this purpose is beyond the need for man to rest. Sleep takes us into a place where we are made to utterly depend on God for His keeping power, as our anchor scripture clearly points out (See Psalm 3:5). It is the realm of the superiority of the spirit realm over the physical realm! Out of the many ways that God uses sleep, come with me as I show you three of them:
- To give us life-imparting encounters.
‘So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.’ – Genesis 2:21 AMP.
This first mention of sleep in the Scriptures shows us that God created it before the great fall. God had a purpose in mind when He caused Adam to sleep in the garden of Eden. By the way, did you notice that Adam wasn’t weak or tired when God decided to make him sleep? God needed Adam to have a companion to help him steward his God-given responsibilities, and although He could have created Eve the same way He made Adam, this time God decides to do it through sleep.
Adam wakes up and finds his companion by his side, he wasn’t scared or afraid or doubtful of the fact that this was simply his Creator’s handiwork. He knew God’s supernatural power was able to accomplish whatsoever He desired.
I believe that one of the reasons why Adam wasn’t so surprised of the supernatural event was that in his sleep, God had already shown him what He was doing and what Eve looked like, so Adam wakes up and naturally accepts Eve as his companion. So when we sleep, God is able to give us supernatural encounters that will change us completely when we wake up – whether in answer to our prayers or as an act of His sovereign will.
- To speak or reveal secrets to His people.
‘Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it. Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men.’ – Job 4:12
There are channels of communication that God employs in passing information across to His creation, but they can only be accessed when our busy brains are at rest. You will agree with me that our brains only have proper rest when we are deep asleep. God uses the instruments of dreams, visions, and trances to speak to us when we sleep, and helps us to remember them when we are awake.
Many times, people sleep and then they have secrets revealed to them in a dream or in a similar supernatural way. There are also others who receive solutions to their problems or that of their loved ones in their sleep. These things are not stuff which they had studied or researched previously or known naturally! These are a small part of the spiritual blessings with which we have been blessed in Christ Jesus. (See Ephesians 1:3).
- To provide guidance and counsel in confusing times
‘Then Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and he took Mary [to his home] as his wife.’ – Matthew 1:24 AMP.
The natural mind has great potentials if well exercised through study, reading and research. However, it is extremely limited and has many realities it cannot access through study or research. There are issues that confront us and we will not find the answers in a library, on the internet, in counselling, or with a friend. Such was the issue Joseph was confronted with when he discovered that his pretty sweetheart – who was a virgin – was pregnant. The rabbis of the synagogue could not help him, neither could the priests.
While Joseph was sleeping, God sends His angel to show him what to do to get out of his confusion, affirming to Joseph that Mary’s pregnancy was divine. Sleep creates a supernatural platform where humans and angels can interact for God’s kingdom purposes!
‘For God speaks once, And even twice, yet no one notices it [including you, Job]. In a dream, a vision of the night [one may hear God’s voice], When deep sleep falls on men While slumbering upon the bed.’ – Job 33:14
When the enemy sneaks into our sleep
‘Give no [unnecessary] sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; Tear yourself away like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.’ – Proverbs 6:4
The crafty old devil knows that sleep provides a bridge between the earthly and the heavenly, between the physical and the spiritual. He also understands that the spiritual controls the physical, so he often takes advantage of humans’ weaknesses and sneaks into our sleep – or dreams precisely – to plant his evils seeds of doubt and give people fearful dreams, lying visions, or temptation to sin. Christ clearly warned us of this when He taught us to pray that the Father would deliver us from the evil one (See Luke 11:4).
We need to be careful of how we live our lives and remain watchful if we mean to keep the devil out from our sleep or dreams! Many people have been deceived by the devil by giving them lying dreams in their sleep, while some others have been attacked with sickness or disease in their sleep. Jesus taught us this reality in His word.
‘Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away.’ – Matthew 13:24,25 AMP.’
Why we need to control how we sleep.
One of the things that opens the door for the enemy to invade our sleep or dreams is the unhealthy habit of over-sleeping. Over-sleeping does many bad things to us – both spiritually, physically, and even financially. A man that sleeps too much might also be lazy in the spiritual disciplines required of every Christian, and by this I mean constant prayer and reading of the scriptures.
‘Do not love [excessive] sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes [so that you can do your work] and you will be satisfied with bread.’ – Proverbs 20:13 AMP.
For us to have healthy spiritual lives, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us discipline how much we sleep. Personally, I believe that those who want to be spiritually sound, and yet physically sound, should learn to measure their sleep! Deep and restful sleep doesn’t necessarily need to be long, you know?
‘At this I (Jeremiah) awoke and looked, and my [trancelike] sleep was sweet [in the assurance it gave] to me.’ – Jeremiah 31:26 AMP.
Staying under the divine shelter.
God is committed to keeping us from the devil’s harm when we sleep; however, it is our responsibility to make sure we bring ourselves under the shelter of His wings where we can find protection from the evil one. Sleep helps us rest, it refreshes our minds, spirits, and bodies; it also aids us in healing or recovering from sickness fast – this is the sustaining power of God mentioned in Psalm 3:5.
Do you want to enjoy the God’s manifestations when you sleep? I’m sure it’s a yes! So, determine to apply discipline to how much you sleep, make sure you have a good amount of the knowledge of God’s word, and stay consistent in prayer!