He grants sleep to those he loves.
–Psalm 127:2 NIV
One way to handle a bad season of life is to refresh yourself physically. That was true of Elijah. After he had run from Jezreel to Beersheba, Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness. Then 1 Kings 19:4 says Elijah asked God to take his life. What would cause him to pray that? He was emotionally and physically exhausted after running 120 miles. And whenever we are physically and emotionally exhausted, it warps our perspective.
If you are physically and emotionally worn out and then you get the news you have been terminated from your job, you don’t think realistically. You begin to think, “I’ll never work again.” Or if you lose a relationship either through death or desertion, you think, “I’m sentenced to a life of loneliness.” Or if you suffer a financial setback, you think, “I’ll never recover from this.” That’s not reality, but your perspective is warped when you are physically and emotionally worn out. God knew what Elijah needed was rest. That is why 1 Kings 19:5 says Elijah “lay down and slept under a juniper tree.” Did you know the Bible says sleep is a gift from God? The psalmist declared in Psalm 127:2 that God “grants sleep to those he loves” (NIV). Often sleep can be the cure for a bad day. Experts say you need seven to eight hours of sleep to maintain your equilibrium.
We need not only sleep, but sustenance as well. Elijah had gone a day’s journey into Beersheba, so it was probably at night that he lay down to sleep. When Elijah had gotten enough sleep, the Lord sent an angelic wakeup call. We find that in 1 Kings 19:5-7: “Behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’” For many people, depression results in the suppression of hunger. But eating is exactly what you need to regain your strength.
Acts 27 tells us that after the apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, he was put on a boat to go to Rome, where he would stand trial before Nero. The boat ran into a violent storm, and the passengers and crew didn’t eat for fourteen days. Acts 27:35-36 says Paul “took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.” There is something encouraging about eating. Do you ever wonder why it is our custom that when people have lost a loved one, we bring them food? It’s not only because they need the physical sustenance, but bringing food is a way of saying that in spite of this hardship you’re experiencing right now, life goes on. That is why it is important that we refresh ourselves not only with sleep but also with food.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When Bad Days Come” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Scripture marked NIV is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.