Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Contemporary English Version
But each of you had better tremble and turn from your sins. Silently search your heart as you lie in bed.
Good News Translation
Tremble with fear and stop sinning; think deeply about this, when you lie in silence on your beds.
New Living Translation
Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.
English Standard Version
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
What is the Psalmist talking about? The first part of this text has two different interpretations because the Hebrew word used can be translated in those two different ways. Either as, tremble and do not sin, or as, be angry and do not sin. None of the translations offends the rest of scripture, therefore either can be used or even both. However our focus today is on the last part that is not disputed in its translation.
This is one of those verses that are independent of the previous and subsequent text. It has no direct relationship with either verse. It is to be understood as it is. Our focus will be on its second part that is undisputed. The part that tells us to search our hearts in our beds overnight and remain silent. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
If the first part is translated as to be angry but do not sin, it means whatever made you angry you are supposed to think about. Go home and deep at night while in bed, think about what offended you, think about your failures, think about what went wrong during the day. Think of where you went wrong. Think of how naive you were to get into trouble. Identify your mistakes. Assess and accept the damage. See all aspects of the problem that made you angry then be silent. Be silent means close that case and now move on. Silence also means do not respond, do not revenge, do not react negatively, be cool and let God take charge. Think about it at night while in bed and be silent. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
If the first part is to be translated as to tremble and stop sinning, it means to deal with your sins. When you think about what you know about God yet you sin, you need to tremble and stop sinning. When you think about the fact that God could have killed you while in the act of sin yet He didn’t, you need to tremble and stop sinning. If you think of how you have offended God and hurt others, and that God can but hasn’t punished you, you need to tremble and stop sinning. Think about your relationship with God. While in bed think of how God has been good to you and how you have responded to that goodness. Then be silent after resolving to do better and be better. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
The solitude in bed deep at night should be used to better our lives. When sleep evades us as it does to many of us, take time to reflect on the previous day and plan for the coming day. Before sleeping or waking up, think of your relationship with God and others, then make certain resolves and on that note face another day. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
If you sleep late or under influence of drugs you may not have those precious moments to reflect and improve your life. Late-night movies and parties and catching up with friends will ruin your chances to interact with yourself meaningfully. When you do not sleep sufficiently, you will hardly have moments to reflect. You will sleep late, wake up late, and ever be in a rush and sleep deficit-related stress. Have sufficient and regular sleeping times, so that your nights in bed can improve your life and relationship with God. Those private night times are what make heroes and successful men. Use the time in bed to your advantage and not just for pleasure and leisure. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
The culture of reflecting on a past day and coming day is here taught. Do not let a day pass without thinking about its successes and failures. Do not let a new day come before you plan for it and make resolves about it. All these are to be done late at night in bed before sleeping, during insomnia, or early morning. This is the recommended bedtime activity!
Dear God, help us to use our nights well, so that we will be wiser, productive, and stronger spiritually, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
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