Pagan Sleep

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Sleep is a God-given natural resource for the survival of the human body. We all are familiar with the feeling of a good night’s rest. Most people will use two or three thousand hours per year to close their eyes and sleep. A godly life contributes to good sleep.

We notice another kind of sleep in Ephesians 5:14, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Such is the sleep of one who has the eyes open, but the mind closed. His heart is void of understanding—a pagan sleep. The call of the scripture is to wake up from this terminal disease, the worst of which is not being willing to see.

When the mind is open, there is the promise, “Christ shall give thee light.” This light is not just brightness, but rather an excitement. The gift here is insight, the ability to see clearly and understand what Christ has to say.

If we cannot clearly see the laws of God, we will find ourselves having to invent our own laws. We notice this type of invention in Numbers 3:4, where Nadab and Abihu introduced strange fire. It may have been impressive, but it had dire consequences.

Insight and understanding are attainable for all. I cannot forget when Amelia, the oldest member of the Siguatepeque Mennonite church in Honduras, gave her testimony after the Sunday morning message. It was rather extensive and held the attention of the gathered congregation. Unable to understand her Spanish, I sought out an interpreter after the service. One thing Amelia had said that impressed me was this: “I cannot read, I cannot write, but I thank the Lord I can understand.” I believe her understanding was a direct gift from heaven.

Ephesians 5:17 refers to this gift of understanding, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Second Timothy 2:15 calls us to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Study is a duty, and understanding is the privilege of the Christian.

In our time, part of the process of learning and understanding has come through our Sunday schools, bible schools, and Christian Day schools. We are thankful to God for this awakening. Yet we need to continue to monitor progress in this learning process. Second Timothy 3:7 warns that we can be “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” How could this be?
The scriptures warn us that certain “knowledge” is false. First Timothy 6:20-21, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”

Could it be that some of the best theologians and the greatest professors take the liberty to twist the Scriptures to such a degree in order to deceive even the very elect? Matthew 24:24 states, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Who are these people who deceive? I believe it is those who were at one time on the right path but have lost the truth. How sad. In their minds, the Word of God has been altered to become strange and uncertain, so much so that the pure Gospel is darkened. It has been said, “A professing Christian who disregards Bible truth is worse than the influence of the atheist.”

We have the promise that the church of God will endure this deception, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. We should claim God’s grace as Noah did in Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God declared Noah a preacher of righteousness. In our day we have a multitude of preachers, but where are the preachers of righteousness? Are they the great, the well-trained, the widely accepted, and the wealthy men? No, not usually. Noah was alone and unaccepted in his time. Yet God pronounced him a voice for righteousness. Noah was awake and had a clear understanding of what the Lord was saying to him. Noah’s life of faith, as well as his family’s faith, was used by God for their spiritual and physical salvation. Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

The call for today remains. Wake up and Christ will give insight. Ephesians 5:14, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

~ Lebanon, PA
December 2013