It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
The word rendered vain in verse 3 of this psalm attributed to Solomon is shav, defined as “emptiness, vanity and nothingness”. He says it is vain to spend time worrying, pondering and/or fretting about problems, issues and situations, especially those that you can do very little about. Notice Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:
25Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing ?
31Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? 32For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. 33But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. 34So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. [AMP].
If we don’t have to worry about food, clothing or basic necessities, what do we have to worry about? Doubtless some would say plenty! The earnestly spiritual of us would say nothing – yet YES! I recognize that this is much easier said than done. We are working to overcome and restore our ‘natural’ soul that remains prone to fear, intimidation and anxiety. We have to focus on the solutions and the Solution-maker rather than our problems. The story of David and Goliath showcases David’s focus on God and his refusal to focus on the size, aggression and braggadocio of Goliath.
We will inevitably have sleepless nights, we will also have problems that we will attempt to cast upon the Lord only to take back later by trying to solve them ourselves. Our need for the inherent peace and quiet of God’s kingdom and the need to have ongoing fellowship with the Lord brings us to Psalm 63 where the soul satisfaction theme of this blog is described and David describes his practice of fellowshipping with God in those night hours.
5My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.