"From the Lord comes deliverance.
May Your blessing be on Your people."
- Psalm 3:8
Sometimes you'll hear something in a message, and it'll stick with you for life, because it is the word of the Lord for you in that moment, and He knows you'll need it again later. That is certainly true for me about Psalm 3:5 - "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." A chaplain named Paul Boersma taught on this psalm over a decade ago at a Chapel service at Hope College, and he highlighted for us the pattern in this verse: I lie down, I sleep, I wake again - because the Lord sustains me. I lie down, I sleep, I wake again - because the Lord sustains me. I lie down, I sleep, I wake again - because the Lord sustains me....
Over and over again. Day after day. Regardless of circumstance. Regardless of what happens between waking and sleeping. Regardless of tragedy. Regardless of the great joys we've experienced. We lie down, we sleep, and we wake again - because the Lord sustains us. David wrote these words in the middle of a psalm expressing how overwhelmed he was, surrounded by enemies, but also expressing how confident he was in God's ability to come through on His behalf: "To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill." (Psalm 3:4) He knew that God could and would deliver him.
And so do we.
David's story, his life, was a foreshadowing, a type - illustrating the Greater Story of what God is doing in all of human history. Years later a prophet named Zechariah would write:
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.... The Lord your God will save them on that day as the flock of His people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!" - Zechariah 9: 9-12, 16-17a
And hundreds of years after that, Jesus rode into Jerusalem, exactly as Zechariah had foretold.
They didn't get it, that day. They thought Jesus was going to spark some sort of revolution and free them from the oppression of Roman rule. But God had an even better plan in mind. He was going to free them from the oppression of sin, and give them a new and better way to live. And this freedom - it wasn't just for Israel. It was for the entire world.
And it is for you.
Do you feel like a "prisoner of hope" sometimes? Are you hoping for a shift in your circumstances, for something to change, for things to be different, before you rejoice? God's word says that He is coming to rescue you, and He will, tho it may not look exactly like what you're hoping for - but He is already at work, rescuing you, and giving you a new way to live. The passage we're reading from 2 Peter today gives us a picture of what that can look like. And in the midst of this new life, we lie down, we sleep, and we wake again, confident that the Lord sustains us - no matter what.