A few days ago, we discussed prayer, and we concluded that we tend to fall asleep on God. But today, I want to pose this question: Does God ever fall asleep on us?
If you're anything like me, you answered "No" without hesitation, but do you have any proof that's the case? Fortunately, the Bible provides such evidence.
Praise the Lord! No matter what happens in our lives, we can trust that God is awake and aware of what we're going through. But, it doesn't always feel that way, does it? Sometimes, even though we know better, we find ourselves looking toward heaven and asking, "Lord, are you there? Are you awake? Do you see this?" And when no immediate answer comes, we conclude that either He's sleeping on the job or He simply doesn't care. The psalmist Asaph can relate. Look at what he wrote under the inspiration of the Lord:
That's certainly not the image of God we want to envision. Asleep? Filled with wine? Huh? What's up with that, Asaph? If you read through the Psalm, you'll get a better idea of where Asaph was coming from. He tells the story of Israel, about their flight from Egypt and time in the wilderness. He discusses how, time and time again, the people went astray, yet God took them back. The psalmist declares how God repeatedly turned His anger away from the people despite their continuous rebellion. But then, the story changes. God allows Israel to be taken captive and their homes and lands to be destroyed. As they had so many times before, the people cried out to God for deliverance, but for a very long time, none came. It was as if the Lord had fallen asleep.
But notice the wording of the verse very carefully. It does not say that the Lord awoke out of sleep but rather that he awoke as one out of sleep. It is a simile, a comparison. For so long, God had not moved on behalf of Israel (at least, not in a way they could see), but then He decided they had suffered enough, and He rose to action. It wasn't that He woke up from a long sleep and realized what was going on. He was watching all along, and their distress--though terrible--was part of His plan to bring the nation back to Him.
As for the latter part of the verse that speaks of a mighty man shouting because of wine, that phrase compares the Lord to a warrior who has strengthened and given himself courage through imbibing strong drink, not to the point of drunkenness but rather to the point of feeling invincible and confident of victory. Obviously, God does not need strong drink to give Himself strength and courage, but He does go into battle optimistic of the outcome. He need never fear defeat, for He is in control of all things. And if you read the rest of Psalm 78, you'll see more of God's plan unfolding--not just for the Jews but for all of mankind.
Does God ever sleep? No, though sometimes it may seem like it. But take heart from this psalm of Asaph, for here we see that God is working and will move at just the right time. He is awake and aware of all you're going through. Don't lose hope. Soon, He'll swoop in like a mighty warrior and defeat the very things that are holding you captive. In the meantime, remember that victory is assured. God has never lost a battle, and He never will. Trust Him as your champion!