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How To Enjoy Shalom Sleep

Exegetical Psychology

Psalm 4

How can we have Shalom Sleep? In this case, Shalom means peace from God. Shalom Sleep starts with establishing a relationship of peace with God through Jesus the Messiah.  As Elohim in the flesh, Jesus of Nazareth brought God’s love into this world as a real human being. Jesus died on the cross, just as Isaiah detailed in Isaiah 53. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. As a lamb led to slaughter, and a sheep before its shearers is silent, so Jesus did not open His mouth. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins, and He offers us the free gift of salvation. For the first time in your life, you can have peace with God. Click the button learn more about peace with God. Eternal Life Button Only when you have peace with God can you have Shalom Sleep. Your spiritual life and sleep go hand in hand. To sleep well, you must live well spiritually. King David understood sleep and provided clear instructions about perfect sleep, even when surrounded by enemies. Please open your Bible and join the study. [[I am only focusing upon three verses out of eight for the sake of time and length. I urge you to ponder all the verses in the Psalm and understand how they fit together.]] Perfect sleep involves applying spiritual principles to our lives before sleeping. We must receive Shalom Sleep to sleep well in Jesus each night.

 The Prayer of Shalom Sleep

Psalm 4:1
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me  and hear my prayer.”

David prayed with praise for God. He also began with a plea for God to help Him. Because our spiritual lives involve constant communication with God, we must call upon God. [[David used the common Hebrew word for “call” as an infinitive construct בְּקָרְאִ֡י, amounting to a verbal noun. David made his call to God personal: “in my call.”]]

•  Spiritual Communication. Shalom Sleep rests upon a personal relationship with Jesus the Messiah. Did you know you are in constant spiritual communication with God?  The only questions is what are you telling God with your words and actions? Prayer must constantly be a communication between you and God. David used the imperative “answer” [[The Hebrew term “עֲנֵ֤נִי” occurs as an imperative, in this case requesting God to listen.]] to emphasize his strong desire for God to respond to his particular request in prayer. Can you see already that David prayed prayers different from most people? David prayed with confidence in God. He prayed with an expectation that God would hear and respond. David also called upon God to hear his prayer.

We must have confidence in prayer that God hears and responds.

Peace with God starts with faith in Jesus the Messiah.

Divine Righteousness. Shalom Sleep requires God’s righteousness in your life. David prayed to the “God of my righteousness.”  [[David used the Hebrew phrase “אֱלֹ֘הֵ֤י צִדְקִ֗י” with the personal suffix, to emphasize that God is his righteousness.]] Notice that David had a personal, spiritual relationship with God. David knew that he had no righteousness in himself, but God was his righteousness. Only when we lay aside all claims of our own righteousness will be able to enjoy the righteousness of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. 

God alone must be our righteousness.

We must have peace with God by faith in Jesus the Messiah as Savior.

Relieved Me. Shalom Sleep arrives after we feel relief from distress. David knew that God had already relieved him of his distress. The Hebrew text literally speaks of David being in a tight place that God enlarges. [[David wrote: “בַּ֭צָּר הִרְחַ֣בְתָּ“. Notice the Hiphil form, a causative stem indicating the work of God in relieving the narrowness impinging upon David.]] In other words, David felt the pressure of distress upon him and God relieved that distress.

Consider praying a prayer like David prayed, but in your own words. It may sound something like this prayer.

“O God, my righteousness. Thank you for relieving my distress today. I know that you hear me when I call. I pray that I may have Shalom Sleep from you tonight. I pray in the name of Jesus the Messiah. Amen.”

The Four Pillars of Shalom Sleep

Psalm 4:4
“Tremble, and do not sin; speak in your heart upon your bed, and be still.”


David gave a series of commands to people: tremble, sin not, speak in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Those commands underpin Shalom Sleep. Without obeying those commands, Shalom Sleep will be far from you.

Tremble. Notice that David commanded all people and his enemies who love what is worthless and aim at deception to tremble before God. [[This root word for “tremble” occurs in Psalm 77:19 and Proverbs 30:21 to describe the earth quaking. In Psalm 4:4, David used the plural Qal imperative (“רִגְז֗וּ”) to command all men to tremble before God, especially those who reproached David and ignored God. ]] 

Do Not Sin. David also commanded people not to sin while trembling. [[David used the phrase “וְֽאַל־תֶּ֫חֱטָ֥אוּ”  with the negative followed by the Qal imperative plural.]] Not only must people tremble before God, but they must also not sin. Trembling does not mean you are sinning. In this case, David consciously determined not to sin by letting himself become overcome by the fears and pressures of people reproaching him and King Saul seeking to kill him.

Speak. David also commanded people to speak in their hearts upon their beds. [[David used a common word for speak (“אִמְר֣וּ”) as another Qal imperative.  Psalmists used a different term for meditate (“אָשִׂ֑יחָה”) in Psalm 63:6, 77:7, 119:15. 119:48, and 145:5. Meditation may imply quiet contemplation, but speaking always involves active communication. Therefore, I prefer the translation speak, not meditate.]] As you lay upon your bed, David prescribed prayer in your heart to God; He will listen as you lay down before Him.

• Be StillDavid finally commanded people to be still. [[David used the Hebrew term “וְדֹ֣מּוּ”. Aaron and Ezekiel had to be still even in the midst of the death of loved ones (Leviticus 10:3 and Ezekiel 24:17).]] No matter the distress, and no matter how troubling things may be outwardly, inwardly we speak in our hearts before God and pray for His help and thank Him for the relief He has already provided. Shalom fills the hearts held still before God.


Do Not Sin


 Be Still

The Safety of Shalom Sleep

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


David said in peace he will both lie down and sleep. As we comprehend and heed what David shared with us, we too may lie down and experience Shalom Sleep. Notice that only the Lord makes David dwell in safety.

In PeaceDavid described peace. [[The Hebrew term “בְּשָׁלֹ֣ום” means in peace.]] In this context, David meant that peace came from God, and displaced the distress caused by people around him. 

Lie DownEveryone has to sleep, and most people lie down to sleep. David spoke about lying down before sleep. Even as he laid in his bed, he was already in peace with God. 

SleepDavid also slept in shalom. The peace of God acted like a blanket around him and filled him.

SafetyOnly Yahweh makes David dwell in safety. David trusted in the power of God to keep him safe while he slept in peace. Of course, David trusted in God whether awake or asleep to protect him. Only God can provide peace and keep us safe while we sleep.

In Peace

Lie Down




David revealed how we can have Shalom Sleep. First, we pray for Shalom Sleep. Second, we tremble and do not sin, speak upon our beds and be still. Third, in peace both lie down and sleep, we trust only God to make us dwell safely, even in sleep.

Hallelujah !

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