October 1, 2015

"He who keeps you will not slumber"

So says the psalmist in Psalm 121:3. And then in verse 4: “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” And perhaps there is a sense in which that is obvious. “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). Nor is He a man, that He should sleep! But, of course, the psalmist intends something even more personal than that. The idea is that, because God does not sleep, there is never a moment of the day when He is not alert; and therefore there is never a moment of the day when He is not alert to His people’s circumstances, and needs, and well-being! Nothing ever slips by His notice. No memos sit on His desk overnight, awaiting an answer until He arrives in the office the next morning. He does not have an ‘Out of Office Auto-Reply’ feature on His email account. No! There is never any moment of any day when He is not wide awake to every need, prayer request, problem, or issue in your life.

“He who keeps you will not slumber.” Isn’t that good to know? Even when your doctor must get a few hours of shut-eye, God is still alert to what is going on inside your body. Even when your pastor is napping on a Sunday afternoon, and misses your call, God is still available. Even when mommy and daddy are not awake to comfort you after a bad dream, God is awake to your cries.

And perhaps just as importantly, even when you yourself are asleep … God is not! Some of us have a great propensity to try and keep everything under control, to keep tabs on all the potential exigencies in our lives, to always be on top of the game. We’re not, of course! But we like to think that we are! And yet even we have to sleep! And we cannot watch our kids like a hawk, or continually check the security monitor, or prepare for every weather pattern, or monitor our breathing patterns then, can we? But the Lord is watching. “He who keeps you will not slumber.”

And then there are all those occasions when you and I are sleep-walking – when we are just not alert to the temptations, or the dangers, or the opportunities that are hovering all around us. Sometimes we live our spiritual lives like a driver who is texting at 70mph on the freeway – kind of paying attention, but kinda not. And, of course, there can be and often are repercussions when we are spiritually sleep-walking. But even then, if we have been bought for God by the blood of Christ; even when we are walking through this world like a teenager down the sidewalk with her face glued to her phone, and paying scarcely any attention at all to where she is going … even then, God is watching over us for good. He may let us stumble onto the concrete, so to speak, in order to teach us a lesson in alertness. But He will not allow us, spiritually, to walk in front of a truck! He is not sleep-walking! And He never will. “He who keeps you will not slumber.”

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