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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 20) - Cultural Transformation #4, work and worry!

Sunday English Service - 25 MAR 18


Please turn with me to Psalm 127. As you know we've been talking about work and first we talked about why work? God has made us as beings who work, He made us in His image and likeness, He works for six days and rested the seventh day, the Bible says. So He made us just like Himself. Now, we talked about God's original purpose for work. How He designed us for work and what God's original purpose is, that we should receive some enjoyment, satisfaction, fulfillment and bring glory to God so that people can see God through our work and so on. So all of these things we looked at, but then we went to the second portion where we talked about how work became a toil because of sin. Work was intended for our pleasure, for our fulfillment and to reveal the glory of God in this earth. But the same thing became a toil as a result of sin, and because of that we experience work in a different way today. And the third section in which we are in right now is about redemption and the work of our hands. We've been redeemed now from the fall, from the curse and so on, and how does it impact work and what is work like now? As a redeemed people, how do we work, how work has been impacted through the redemptive work of Christ, that's what we're talking about.

I wanted to go much into the New Testament, I'm drawn back again and again back into the Old Testament. But there is nothing wrong in going back into the Old Testament, look at how redeemed people ought to work; because in the Old Testament itself, there is a wonderful picture given of the redeemed people and their blessings and so on. The people of Israel were a redeemed people, they were redeemed from Egypt by the blood of the lamb. And through them God reveals so many truths to us, they're all a big lesson to us, teaching things to the New Testament people. So we must not, as we walk as New Covenant people we must not totally forsake the Old Testament. There is so much there still that is available by way of truth for us to learn from the Old Testament. That's why I went to Daniel, remember we went to the book of Daniel and saw how Daniel approached work and how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they all worked and what work was like for them under the Old Covenant, but as redeemed people, the people of God, how did they approach work and how they succeeded and so on.

Today I want to take you back again to the Old Testament because of this wonderful passage here. Psalm 127, let me read to you the first two verses. In case you're looking at the Tamil Bible, in this church we have this problem, people are in Tamil service looking at English Bible and they attend English service looking at Tamil Bible sometimes. So I've got to clarify something because if you're looking at a Tamil Bible, the same first two verses is given in the form of three verses. Strangely, Psalm 127 in the English is only five verses in English, but in the Tamil language it's six verses, because they've divided it like that. But the words are the same, but they have divided verses like that. I don't know for what reason they've done it but they've done it like that. So don't be confused by it, it's the same thing but verses are one too many, alright? Psalm 127, let me read to you verses 1 and 2, I'm reading from New King James Version. Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Now, you know we've been talking in the last couple of weeks about cultural transformation.

Really cultural transformation is a kind of a radical total change in the thinking, the approach, and philosophy that results in a totally different way of looking at work and doing our work. This cultural change must come to us and through us to the society. And God has willed work as a way of building bridges for the gospel, so that the people on the other side, the people that don't know Christ, the people that are not saved, that are away from Christ, can cross over by seeing work and by seeing God and seeing God's great love and goodness through work. They can cross over from there to a faith in Christ, work is supposed to be like a bridge that helps them cross over from there to here. When we work in the way that God has ordained for us to work, when we work in His power, when we work with His gifts and talents and abilities. When we work with a kind of excellence that God's word commands us to work with, when we do those things, then the gospel can be a bridge that helps people to cross over from a lack of knowledge of Christ to the knowledge of Christ, knowing Christ and so on.

Let me just keep this Psalm 127, let me just take you to 1 Thessalonians for just a minute to just prove this point of the work serving as a bridge for people that don't know Christ, to come into Christ. God uses work like that. Let me ask you to turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 11 and 12. That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. Now Paul considers that it's very important that we walk properly towards those who are outside. When he uses this expression those that are outside, he's talking about people that are without Christ, don't know Christ, people that are out there. The people that are not saved, that don't have the knowledge of Christ. He calls them people that are outside, he says, you must walk properly toward those who are on the outside. That means that your life and your conduct must be proper, as they look at you so that they may be witness about God's grace in your life. And what should you do in order to walk properly towards those that are outside? One thing he says, you must lack nothing, you must live in a way that you lack nothing and that you must aspire to lead a quiet life. Another interesting expression he uses is mind your own business, that's the way it says it. Have you ever noticed that people that don't have work and don't keep busy with their work, they mind other people's business, you know. So Paul says to Christians, you must walk properly towards those that are outside, when people look at you they must see Christ. Your life and your work must serve as a bridge for them to cross over into faith in Christ, how do you do that? You do that by living a life in which you lack nothing, that your needs are supplied, that your work is effective and your needs are supplied. And that you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, he says.

Now, it's so important that we lack nothing, that we mind our own business, we lead a quiet life, and most importantly we work with our own hands. And live a self-sufficient life so that we don't stretch our hand to anybody, we're not depending on anybody and so on. I remember a man wrote a letter to me after being a Christian for 25 years, he read a magazine article that I had written. A very sad letter really, he said, "25 years ago I gave my life to Christ, but the place I went to they told me that if I live a successful life in this world, that I'm a worldly person. You know if I work and earn and do these things rightly and well, then I'm very worldly, I'm concerned about worldly things, that I should not consider these things important at all. So I failed to give any attention to that aspect of my life and I failed, and I have lost a lot and I've come to nothing. And for many years I'm suffering financially in every way, I'm dependent on other people. I want my entire family to come to know Christ, when I go and tell them they always tell me, please take care of yourself first and then come and tell us, because you're in a pathetic condition and you're trying to come and tell us about your God. Please tell your God to first take care of you and show you the way, then you can come and tell us."

See how important it is for us to live a life where we lack nothing? That we are not dependent upon anybody? That itself is a tremendous testimony, that we don't lack anything, that God has blessed us. The work of our hands is fruitful, that we live our own life, we mind our business, we live a quiet life. Most importantly we work with our own hands, doing that which God has enabled us to do. So these are very important things. So work is a bridge, I see it as a bridge through which people can come to Christ. In so many countries and cultures you cannot even testify about Christ. Here we seem to think that you have to have a microphone and a Bible in your hand and shake it all over the place, and tell about Christ and that's the only way to, you know, make Christ known. But there are cultures in which you cannot even talk about Christ, you're not even permitted to mention Christ, how are you going to lead people to Christ? Your work is the key because you're out there in the world with the people and God has always meant for you to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And when you do your work in the way that God wants you to do, then that itself serves as a mighty witness.

Now, wherever there are people... and I'll go back to Psalm 127, there it talks about, unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Now this whole passage is about working without anxiety really, because it is talking about eating the bread of sorrows. It says don't eat the bread of sorrows, it's a waste. You're not supposed to go to work and work with anxiety, and fill your life with anxiety throughout your work. And then earn and eat, you know, with that anxiety, anxiety should not be part of your life. Sorrows is mentioned here, you remember when Adam and Eve sinned, this sorrow, this particular sorrow of the work becoming very difficult came into their life. And it has produced what we today call as anxiety, and everybody understands it and everybody suffers from it. And that is why in this world it's so important that we be free from anxiety and don't eat the bread of sorrows, don't eat the bread of anxiety. Wherever there are people whose hearts are not afraid or anxious, but instead they have a tranquility of heart and they work with a peaceful trust and faith in God. Trusting in God happily, expressing their talents and gifts that God has given to them, and as they work they work as unto the Lord, not as unto a man or some earthly authority. They do it faithfully and sincerely, devoted to their work, they consider God is the one that supervises them, in that way they work. Wherever there's people, seek people like that, who are not anxious but happily expressing their talents and working joyfully, having that kind of attitude. Those kinds of people become a shining light before this world, because this world is full of anxious people. People that are not satisfied, people that hate their work. You know they have this whole cloud you know of despair of them when it comes to their work. And they don't like it, they're not satisfied with it. So satisfaction, tranquility, peace and all of these things is out of this world, you know when people look at you having all these things, they see that you got something that is out of this world, that is not part of this world, you know.

The world is full of anxious people, look at the students for example. This week I just read in the papers that one girl because she didn't do well in mathematics, committed suicide, what a strange thing this is. I didn't do well in mathematics, but I'm doing well in life. I'm sure I won't do well even if you gave mathematics test now, but I tell you I've not done bad in life you know, life has been good with God's blessings. Mathematics is not everything you know, you can set it right, you can make it right, this is not something that you die for. Just imagine that girl, when I read that I felt very sad, what that girls mind and heart must have been like. What kind of attention and anxiety she has gone through. She must have lived everyday thinking that others are going to laugh at her, her low grades and that she's not going to do well and not match her friend's marks and so on. This is the kind of comparison they make and they put pressure on these people, and that leads to even death you know, filled with anxiety. Consider the adults, they're even worse you know. They're anxious about how they're going to do their work and meet the target and satisfy their boss and demands of their work and so on. They don't know whether they're going to survive through all of this and whether they're going to keep the job or they're going to be kicked out and fired. Tension and anxiety is everywhere and part of everyone's life.

Now, that is why because it is so common, those who live in peace and freedom and joy, shine like stars in darkness in this world. Especially because so many people live in that darkness of anxiety and worry over work. Your work must be different, it is important that you have the right attitude towards work, culturally that you change. Completely look a work in a different way. That you look at yourself as a person having a call in your life to do a particular kind of a thing, and that you've been given and been endowed with gifts and abilities and that you're doing things which God has called you to do. And you do it because it brings great thrill and satisfaction to you and it's a blessing to others, it's for the glory of God. That's the kind of transformation that must happen in our lives, and those kinds of people are rare and those kinds of people shine like the stars in this world. It's so important how we do our work you know, so important.

And what does this passage say? It says don't eat the bread of sorrows, don't eat the bread of anxious toil, one translation says. Now when I read that I'm immediately reminded of Matthews chapter 6 in the sermon on the mount where Jesus said don't worry about what you will eat, what you will drink, and what you will be clothed with. Look at the lilies of the field, look at the birds of the air, you know. They hardly do anything, they don't sow, they don't reap you know, but your heavenly Father takes care of them. He tells people that people that don't know God worry about these things, search after these things, run after these things, they become anxious about these things, worry about these things. But you, he says, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. When I read this, immediately that is what I remember because that's what it's talking about.

Now in order to understand this passage, you need to look at it like this. What it is saying is basically it is giving two reasons why you must not have anxiety, in two verses two reasons are given. The first reason is given in verse 1, what is the reason? Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; and unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. He says don't have anxiety because even if you stay awake all night watching the city so that no danger comes to city, so that the city is not overtaken by some calamity. With your eyes wide open, watchful, using all your arms and manpower and money power and everything, to watch over the city. Still some bad things can happen if the Lord does not guard the city. You may try to build your family, your enterprise, your business, your church or whatever you're doing in this world. If the Lord is not in it, you're laboring in vain. There's no use worrying, there is no use fretting, there is no use breaking your head worrying about how am I going to come up and how am I going to do all these things, because if the Lord is not involved in it, unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. So the message is this, the first point is this, saying don't have anxiety, why? The first reason is because the Lord says His part is very important, whether you're going to successfully do what you're attempting to do depends not just on you. So don't have anxiety, recognize God's part in it, recognize there is something that you do, but there is something that the Lord does. So you just do your part, don't fret, don't worry, don't be staying awake all night worried about whether it's going to come out right or not. Have you done your part? Have you done what God has called you to do? Have you done it right? Then let God do the rest, the thing that you cannot do, let God do. Unless the Lord builds the house, you're laboring in vain. Unless the Lord protects the city, you're watching the city in vain. That's the first thing that he's saying. So let's consider this a little bit.

One of the words that is used here is the word vain, in some translations you may have some other translations with you right now. In the English language this is one benefit, we have many translations, which is quite useful, it sometimes comes in very handy. The word useless is used, useless. Now that's the same word that is used in those translations, when it comes to Ecclesiastes, why? Because this psalm they say is a psalm of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes also written by Solomon. This psalm here, Psalms 127 and another psalm in the book of Psalms comes from Solomon. So the language seems similar. What Solomon is saying is this, it's useless for me to worry about you know building my house, or building anything if the Lord is in it, then I've got to do my part then let the Lord do His part, and then everything will come together. Unless the Lord does His part, it's a waste, it's a waste for me, it's a useless thing for me to sit down and worry.

Now in what way is it vain for a man who tries to build his house without the Lord? It is vain in this sense, that many times when you do it out of your own strength, your own power, your own wisdom, out of your own will, thinking that you are almighty that all you need is yourself and your brain to do whatever you're trying to do. Then it ends up like the Tower of Babel project, it never gets done. You come to a certain point in your life just like the attempt to build the Tower of Babel, God was not in it, why? Because it was not done for God's will, it is not done for the glory of God. It is not done because God wanted it done, it was done merely out of pride, haughtiness. They said we will build, we will build all the way to heaven you know. We've got good minds, we've got intelligence, we've got skills, we are great builders and whatever we set out to do we can do. They never thought about God, they never thought about honoring God in their lives. They only thought about their strength and the Tower of Babel was aborted in the middle, you know, it just could not be finished because God's blessing was not in it. Unless something is done with God in it, it's difficult to get it done you know.

And there are other passages in the Bible that I don't have time to go to a lot of passages, but I can take you to at least one passage here in the book of Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 11 and 12. Look at what God says here. For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the timbers will answer it. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity! It's talking about building a town and establishing a city, but they're doing it by iniquity and by bloodshed. You know there are people in this world that think that by brute power, by the weapons they have, by the power they have, by the men that we have, manpower they have, by the money power they have, by all that they have by way of worldly resources. They think they can build a city, they think they can build a society, they think they can do this and that. But the Bible says no, it's not possible, woe to him, it says. He's going to try, such people are going to try, try very hard and do many things. They're very clever it looks like, they have wonderful plans and execute them with great power and authority sometimes. And it looks like they're going to do this and that, but it all comes to nothing. It becomes unfinished project because God is not in it, why is God not in it? Because it is established by iniquity. God cannot be involved in it when there is not love, love has nothing to do with it, when there is no justice, when there is no truth, God has nothing to do with it. God cannot be a part of it. So if it's done with oppression and injustice, it cannot be done. The foundation is oppression and injustice, therefore it cannot be done, it says.

So anything that man tries to do, it may look good, it may look like he's trying to do something and he may do it, but I'll tell you, if God is not in it ultimately it will fail. It will not achieve anything, or it may go to waste in another way. He may get it done but then it will be undone completely. Whatever he has done will be demolished, destroyed and put away, whatever he has done becomes a waste, it becomes useless. He has tried so hard, put so much energy into it, so much into it, but then it becomes nothing. Another way it becomes useless is this, that a person may do these things and think that he's great and do these things without God, and what happens? The person may not be there to enjoy it, and may not be there to enjoy anything from it. And we have instances of that in Bible, plenty, and don't have the time to go to. Sometimes the house is built and people don't even think about God, don't want God in their lives, have no concern for anything else, don't want to honor God. God is not there, they built it out of their own sweat, out of their own mind and brain and intelligence and skills. They have no place for God, but then it becomes a house of sorrows, house of tragedy literally. In the sense that they've got the house, whatever they tried to do they've done, they've succeeded but marriage falls apart, children fall apart, everything comes apart. There is no happiness, they can lay down on a beautiful bed, but they cannot even put themselves to sleep. They cannot have peace in their hearts, the place is there, the building is there but peace is not there. Happiness is not there, fulfillment is not there, joy is not there and so on. So the psalmist is right, he says,unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; and unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman that stays awake is doing it in vain. Alright?

So anything you do, anything that we're involved in, unless the Lord does it, unless you realize that it's your part that you must do and there is God's part in it. And you work in partnership with God, it must be a fulfillment of God's purpose and plan for your life. Part of the larger plan that God has for your life. Unless and until you do it that way, you will never really succeed, that's the first thing that he's trying to say. You build a house, unless the Lord builds it, you're doing it in vain. You want to protect the city, unless the Lord does it, you're doing it in vain. You're doing your part but God is not in it, therefore it doesn't go through he says. The second is the thing that I want to concentrate on, because I want to drive home the second point. The second reason he gives is the most interesting reason you'll find.

The second reason is this. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, all of us know what it means, because Indians are overworked, we work very hard. Now the Bible doesn't lay any rules about how early you must go to work and how late you can stay up to work. How many hours you can work and so on, that is not the thing. If you enjoy your work really, if you want to work 10 hours, 12 hours also, the Bible says don't do that, no, there's no rules like that. If you do it out of enjoyment, it's alright, but if you do it out of anxiety, even that eight hour work becomes a problem you know. The Bible talks about higher things, you know it's not about how many hours you work, it's about how you work, why you work. Are you working because of anxiety or are you working because of God's call upon your life, because you find satisfaction, because you're accomplishing something for the glory of God and you love it, and it benefits a lot of people and so on. That's the thing, that's the way the Bible speaks about it. So he says you rise up early and sit up late, alright, we all know that. To eat the bread of sorrows, all that for what? Why do you rise up early and sit up late? So that you eat the bread of sorrows, bread of anxiety. So that you earn and have your needs met through your earnings, you eat and live by it, but you did it by anxiety. You went to work very early, you stayed up very late because you're filled with anxiety, you want to make sure that you earned enough. You are living in tension, constant strain and tension and anxiety all the time. Then he says... now this is what doesn't make sense, he says, it is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Now this really, have you ever read that?

I've read these things from my childhood, but sometimes we read without thinking you know. This verse unless the Lord builds the house, it's a very famous thing for Christians. If you've been a Christian for any length of time you've read it. And I've read it so many times and these psalms in my young age, we were meant to memorize you know. And I've been familiar with it for a long time, but I never really thought about it. What is it saying? It is saying it is a waste, it is useless for you to rise up early and sit up late and eat the bread of sorrows. And the reason he gives is this, for so He gives His beloved sleep. What kind of reason is that? It says don't rise up early and stay late, and then eat the bread of sorrows, why? Because for so God gives His beloved sleep. I don't understand that, what kind of reason is that? If you tell a guy who's going early to work and staying very late, and works until 10 o'clock at night and comes back very tired. Is the Bible saying to him, don't worry, God will give you good sleep? Is that what the Bible is saying? I mean that means Bible is not saying very much, or is the Bible saying don't go to work early, don't stay up late, because God wants to give you sleep. I'm sure that guy is not going to sleep now, why? Because he's going early and coming late because he's anxious. He wants his needs met, there is not enough for him the way he's working. So he wakes up early and comes late, and you're telling him don't go to work, just sleep? So that cannot be the meaning, so these things don't make sense. Why is God saying, why is this verse saying, it is in vain for you to rise up early, stay up late, and eat the bread of sorrows. For so God gives His beloved sleep. That verse, that last line is the most difficult, for so God gives His beloved sleep, what does that mean?

Now, that last part of the verse is very difficult to understand, and what makes it difficult to understand is this. That line is translated this way here, but you read any commentary, anybody that is explaining this, any great work that has really gone into this. I challenge you, everyone points out this particular thing. It says it can be translated two ways, one is it can be translated as for so God gives His beloved sleep, that is one translation. And our translation here... I'm reading from New King James, my translation gives that version. But you may have some other translations where it will say, for so God gives His beloved in sleep. What is the difference? Giving sleep is one thing, giving in sleep is another thing. What is the difference? Is God giving only sleep to a person? No. The second way to translate, they say it can equally be translated in two ways. One it can say, for so God gives His beloved sleep, that is a legitimate translation. But the other translation is also legitimate, somehow they left it and initially in the earlier versions they translated like this because that didn't make sense for them. The Lord gives His beloved sleep, makes sense for them because so many places in the Bible it talks about how God makes our sleep sweet, how God gives us sleep. The fact that God gives us the ability to sleep, is told in many places. So it makes sense so they translated it like this. But the later translations, all of the more modern translations use the second way of translation. Not this translation that says, for so the Lord gives His beloved sleep. They say, for so the Lord gives His beloved in sleep, what does giving His beloved in sleep mean? It means... now listen, this is the most important thing that I want to show you today. It means that you are so anxious, so worried going early, setting up late, trying to eat the bread of sorrows. Why are you doing it? Don't do it because your God that you believe in is so great that while you are sleeping, He can give you all that. That's what it's saying. While you are sleeping, God can do that.

Now, I want to talk about this you know, because a lot of people say, "Well do you mean then that I don't have to go work, and that I can just go to sleep?" I've got to clarify this because I know somebody is going to go from this service and say, "Pastor Sam said, just forget about everything, just sleep and while you're sleeping God can do more than while you are working. Then why work? Let's go to sleep." That is not what is saying, it is not saying don't build a house, it is saying unless the Lord build it with you, it's in vain. Have you ever seen the Lord building any house? No, if you're building, He's with you on it. Has anybody ever showed you a house where they didn't do anything, the Lord did it? He has not built a house, He has not driven a nail in any wall. He has not done any carpentry work, any electrical work, nothing, we had it done with people, we paid for it, right? But the Lord was with you as you did it.

So the Lord doesn't come and directly do anything, but He's with you in whatever you're doing if it is done for the glory of God in the way that God wants it done. So it is not saying don't do it, it is saying, you do your part and the Lord will do His part. So don't sit up late and don't get up early and go, and don't sit up late because of your anxiety. If you're thrilled about your job and you want to go early and sit up late and work, that's a different thing. But the problem here is the guy is anxious, he's worried. So he goes early and comes late everyday because he's filled with anxiety, to meet his target and to do his thing because he doesn't know if he can survive in that job, you know anxious, worried, tensed about these things. It says don't do it, why? Because you've forgotten that you've got another person with you. The Lord, the greater partner, who can do the things that you cannot do, He can do. If you realize that, you will not go early and sit up late because you know that while you do your part, God can do His part. And when His part is done, it will be done. That's why some translations translate it like this, one translation gives it like this. God gives His beloved, while they're asleep. Another translation translates it as this, For so God provides as much for His loved ones while they sleep. Another translation says, The Lord gives as much to those He loves while they are asleep.

Now, leave alone the translations, but the ones who comment on it, always point this out, that this has to be the right translation, why? If you tell a guy who goes early and comes late because of anxiety, say, "Hey, don't do that, cause you're doing it out of anxiety, that's not good. Life cannot go on like this." And he says, "Why shouldn't I do this? I go early, come late cause I'm so tense, I'm anxious, I've got to do it." And you tell him, "Because while you are sleeping, the Lord can do more for you than you can do while you are awake. That's why don't do it, because the Lord is a greater partner that you have. While you're sleeping He can do more for you." Then that can really bring him comfort, that can really give him sleep also, bring some sleep also. Otherwise he'll never sleep, cause he's anxious. Now how does God do it when you're sleeping? Now some people think that when they shut the lights off and sleep, heaven also shuts down. That God has gone to sleep and it's night, all the angels are sleeping and that God is in bed and we shouldn't disturb Him, make any noise with prayer and all that. No, the Bible says the One who keeps Israel, the One who watches over Israel, neither sleeps, nor slumbers. God never sleeps. Then why has He made us, who are made in the image and likeness of God, as people who sleep? Have you ever thought of that? Why has God made us as people who sleep? If He made us in His image and likeness, he should have made us just like Him, people that don't sleep. Sometimes I think that's a good idea if you ask me, because it gives you more hours. If you don't have to sleep and you don't need sleep, you have eight more hours. One third of our day goes to just sleeping, and we have to lay down in our bed, turn the lights off, close our eyes, and lay there literally unconscious, don't even know what's happening. You can't even think, you can't do anything, you've got so much to do but yet you've got eight hours, you've got to lay down and sleep. Why has our God who's the Almighty God, if He wanted to make us as people that don't have to sleep, that don't require sleep, He could have very easily done it. But He did not do it, He did not make us people who don't have to sleep. He has made us as creatures who require sleep, sleep is essential for us, why? Have you ever thought of that?

Now, let me tell you why, because God wants to remind all of us, all of us human beings, that we are His children. We are created beings, and that He is God, there is a difference. Even though we are made in the image and likeness of God, like God, we must remind ourselves that we are not gods. We are made in the image and likeness of God, but we have to live our life trusting in Him, believing in Him, giving ourselves in His hands. We cannot be just like Him in that way, we have to trust in Him. So every day He has made us as people who have to sleep, one third of our hours are spent in sleep, why? Because while you're sleeping, that's when you become most helpless. You become unconscious, you become like a blind person because your eyes shut and you cannot see what's happening. You don't know, you are like literally unconscious, don't know what's happening. You've heard of people being killed while they're sleeping you know, because if you go against a strong man, it's better to go at night when he's sleeping. And finish him off because when he's sleeping he doesn't know anything, and he's just laying there. He's like a little child, he's helpless, he's powerless, he's weak. He's like a blind man, he doesn't see anything, he doesn't know what's happening. Every day we put ourselves through that eight hours, by that a message is given to us. And what is that message? The message is this, that we are God's created beings, we are God's children, we need to live in trust and faith in Him. That is why we need to lay down eight hours, close our eyes, shut everything off and trust in God and go to sleep, knowing that everything will be well. God said to Paul, in your weakness my power is made perfect, He said.

Now, when you realize that you need God, that you need God's help you are living in this world trusting and putting faith in God, that is when you experience God's power in your life. God has ordained sleep to remind us every day that we are creatures made to trust in God, to close our eyes and become like a little child. Jesus said, if you don't become like a little child, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Every day we become like a little child, helpless little child, laying there in the bed not knowing what's happening, closing our eyes. Literally unconscious, weak, the most vulnerable hours of our life is laying down and sleeping. God wants us to do that to remind us that we totally are dependent upon Him. He shows us how dependent we are on Him every day. Amen. So when you sleep everyday remember that, say, "Lord I thank you because I depend on you. I close my eyes and I sleep in peace because you take care of everything. I am in your mighty hands, you're my God and I'm your child. So I lay myself down to sleep, make my sleep wonderful and sweet and good and peaceful sleep, because you watch over me even while I'm sleeping." But what does God do while we're sleeping?

I said God does more for you while you're sleeping, than what you can do for yourself while you're awake. How can that be right? Turn with me to Mark chapter 4, I'll show you how. Mark chapter 4 verse 26. And He said, The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground and should sleep by night, you see that? What does a man do? He scatters the seed on the ground, the farmer scatters it, he ploughs the ground, makes it ready for sowing and then scatters the seed on the ground. And then what does he do? He goes to sleep, should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. It's telling you exactly what I've just told you. He's laying down, he's closing his eyes, he's unconscious, he doesn't know what's happening. He has sowed the seed, he has ploughed the ground, he has sowed the seed and goes to sleep. And while he's sleeping, he does not even know how it happens. Something happens to the ground where he had sown the seed, the seed begins to bear fruit, a harvest is produced. Now Paul says I plant, Apollos watered, and God gives the increase. Now Paul plants, Apollos is another guy, he waters, he's talking about ministry. Where he goes and preaches the word, plants the seed of God's word. Apollos comes right behind him and he preaches and teaches the people. But God gives the increase.

Now, take for example just agriculture, you can plant a seed, that's all you can do. You can water, that's all you can do. Is there anyone that can give the increase? Increase you cannot give, no matter how powerful you are, how clever you are, how mighty you are. You cannot make that seed that has been planted, to give a harvest. The power to make that seed produce a harvest is in God's hands, that is left to God, nobody can do it. You can stand upside down on your head, you cannot do it. You cannot, with all the power that you have, you cannot cause the seed to grow. Every farmer depends on God for that miracle, where his seeds are taken and God produces a big harvest. So that he has sown with a few bags of seed, and when he comes to reap it, he comes to reap it many more times, brings trucks to take truckloads of harvested food. How does that miracle happen? That miracle happens while the farmer is sleeping. He plants but then he sleeps. And while he's sleeping, him not even knowing what happens, God does something. Work is like that, that is a wonderful picture of the kingdom of God and how it works, that is the way everything works. How does everything work? When you realize this I think you'll leave all anxiety behind, there will be no need for anxiety, that's the purpose of Psalm 127. You won't rise up early and sit up too late because of anxiety, maybe you'll do that because you enjoy doing that, but not because of anxiety, why? Because you're not worried about whether your work can produce anything. You know that while you're sleeping also, God works. That God is never on leave, God never shuts down, at night He never sleeps, He continues to work. He continues to work and brings forth results.

Oral Roberts tells an amazing story of how when he was young he was a very poor preacher, he could not even complete college and had to enter into ministry. By the time he married and got a child and got a small church in some countryside, and they were not even able to pay him a decent salary to have his own apartment or house, rent a house. So he lived in a believer's house, in one of the rooms with the child with him. It was very embarrassing for his wife because even for milk she had to go their refrigerator to get the milk. They have to supply everything or these people have to buy and put it there, it's all a mess you know. And so she got tired of it and one day she told him, "Look, if you can't even provide an apartment for me, I'm going to go back to my father's house. When you can rent an apartment, come back and call me." And that's when he got very worried, he said that night he couldn't sleep because he just could not take it because he's wife is getting ready to leave, she's ready to pack her bags and go home. She said get me a house by myself, I want to live by myself. That's a very simple request, usually a person should be able to do it, but he was not able to do it. So next day he prayed about it, he went to church and there was a meeting there. And he was given his salary, and he was so much in despair he went to God and said, "Lord, I totally depend on you, I don't know what you're going to do. How are you going to meet my need, I just don't see any way, I'm so anxious. So I'm going to do a thing that I've never done before." He took most of the money that he had received as salary and gave it to the church, and came back and told his wife that he has done it, and his wife just blasted him you know. His wife told him you know nothing, "I'm going back to my father's house." And he said that's the coldest bed I've slept in, in my life. They were each turning their own way and sleeping at night.

And while he was sleeping at night, there was a businessman in his church... this is back 75 years ago, something like that. And there was a businessman in his church, he's a strange guy, he hides money everywhere you know. So he had put $400 in a tin in a plastic bag, in a tin and buried it under a tree in his yard. And it was for urgent use, emergency use, I guess they did all kinds of things like this in those days. And while he was sleeping, he was not able to sleep. And he woke up and wondered what he's doing you know, why he's not able to sleep. And then he heard God speak to his heart, say take that money and go give it to that man. So he took that money, came in the middle of the night, knocked on the door it seems. And this preacher opened the door and saw this man standing, and said, "What happened?" He said, "I don't know, I'm not able to sleep." That's because God never sleeps. And at night while Oral is sleeping, God woke this guy up and sent him to do this. And he said, "That's the first day in my life I laid my hands on a $100 bill," he said, "I've never seen a $100 bill, this man gave me $400, I've never seen so much money in my life. All of a sudden I had so much money in my life. God arranged it while I learnt on that day," he says, "That God can do more while I'm sleeping, than while I'm fretting. If I stayed up all day and worried and be tensed about it, I would not have even gotten one penny out of it." The Bible says so, who can add one inch to your stature by worrying, by worrying you cannot get anything. He says God can do much more during the night when I'm sleeping, than when I am awake and worrying with anxiety, working. I learnt that, that day, he said, to trust in God. That God is so great that while I'm sleeping, that He is at work, He is arranging things for me. He's putting together circumstances for my benefit. He's organizing things for me, to meet my need, to cause everything to work together for my favour, he's busy at work.

We're talking about how to sleep now. Some people are saying this is a strange church, they're preaching on how to sleep. Well, ask the world how many people are without sleep today. A lot of people are not able to sleep, the reason is anxiety. I believe that when you go to sleep at night, there is a good prayer that you can pray. You can say, "Lord, I am in your hands. I put all my burdens into your hands. I refuse to carry burdens, and worries, and fears, to sleep with me. I have done everything that I should do. I have gone to work, I have worked, I have done my best, I have done what I'm supposed to do, now I leave it to you. While I'm sleeping, I believe that you are doing something for me. That you will work in my favor, that you will organize everything, you will bring things together, you will cause everything to work in my favor. That while I am sleeping, that you will still be working for me and when I get up in the morning, maybe I'll see some answers to my problems. Maybe I'll see some things changed, maybe I'll get some new ideas. Maybe I'll have some new ways opened for me, because you're great in organizing things and doing these things." When you pray like that, I'll tell you my friend your sleep will become sweet and your next day will be a wonderful day, because you will see God open doors and God doing things in a marvellous was in your life.

So Psalm 127 tells wonderful good news, it says don't arise early and don't sit up late because of your anxiety, why? For so God give His beloved in sleep. Now every word makes sense, before it didn't make sense. Before these two things didn't fit together, the thing about getting up early and staying up late. And then the reason is the thing that didn't fit you know. It says don't arise early, don't sit up late, for so God gives His beloved sleep, that doesn't make any sense. Now it makes sense, don't rise up early, don't sit up late, for so God gives His beloved in sleep. God gives His beloved in sleep, that means God gives everything that you need while you are asleep, God is arranging everything. Amazing. This can bring a great deal of comfort, now I can see that the anxious man going to sleep saying, "Yeah, I can see that, I can trust that." Otherwise you tell him to sleep, you tell him God gives you sleep, he won't sleep, because he's anxious. Now you tell him God gives everything that you need, so much better and so much more while you're sleeping than while you're fretting. That's the truth, you go to sleep now. Now he's able to sleep also.

So I hope that your work will be done with pleasure, because you realize that it's 100% is not done by your power, you do only your part and there is God's part. So everyday you trust in God, every time you lay yourself down to sleep, you remember that you are dependent upon God. That you are in God's hands, that you are a child of God. You're the creature and He's the creator, and He watches over you, and He is able to meet your need far better than your anxiety can meet your needs. And when you do that, I'll tell you, things will change, your work will become pleasurable. Your work will become enjoyable when you put this into action. When you put this into action by praying every night, by speaking this out every night, by believing this thing. That God while you're sleeping, is working, so that you don't have to stay up all night and worry. Some people stay up all night and worry, and stay up all day and work. Nights are worrying times, days are working times. So all day they're working, and all night they're worrying, no wonder they're worn out, no wonder they tire out so early. And the life is shortened because all day work and all night worrying. God meant for it to be all day work but all night sleep, and that your sleep should be sweet. And may your sleep be sweet and wonderful as you trust in God and believe that God will bring everything together. Amen. If anybody says I can't sleep, tell him this, tell him God can do more for you while you're asleep than while you're afraid and sitting up and worrying. I think you should note it in the Bible where it says, for so God gives His beloved sleep, you must write below that, for so God gives His beloved in sleep. If you just write that, you'll remember that every time you read that, in sleep, while sleeping, in sleep God gives. And that will make such a big difference in your life.

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