«He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep» (Psalm 121:4, NIV).
CICERO, the famous Roman jurist, speaker, and philosopher, wrote a letter in which he said that one of his Roman consuls, Gaius Caninius Rebilus, had taken his job very seriously and «was so astonishingly vigilant that throughout his consulship he never ever closed his eyes.» I suppose we would want politicians in our country to be like Caninius—to be so busy solving the people’s problems that they wouldn’t even have time to sleep during the years of their administrations. But just so we don’t get our hopes up, it would be good to know that Cicero was a master of irony and sarcasm, and the reason he said Caninius did not sleep throughout his consulship was that it only lasted one day.
Although it’s not realistic to expect a person not to sleep because of their love and concern for others, there is in fact Someone who doesn’t sleep. Psalm 121 tells us about Him. In just a few verses, the psalmist presents a transcendental truth: God is our guardian. The poem begins by presenting an essential human need: the need for help. The psalmist asks, «Where does my help come from?» (verse 1, NIV). And answer comes immediately: «My help comes from the Lord» (verse 2). Unlike the god Baal, whose prophets cried out to on Mount Carmel, » ‘Baal, answer us!’ . . But there was no response; no one answered,» our God does answer. «Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! . . . Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened» (1 Kings 18:26, 27, NIV). You can’t trust in a god like that!
The God of the Bible can be trusted; He will be our help because «He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep» (Psalm 121:4, NIV). He will always be ready to hear our call for help because He watches over us, because He is not overcome by sleep, because He never closes His eyes. Instead of sleeping, He «will protect you as you come and go» (verse 8, GNT). «As you come and go» is a phrase that «includes all of human life: going to work and coming home, beginning and ending endeavors.
God takes care of us when we are born and when we die, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad times, when we finish one chapter of our lives and begin another. The Lord our God—the one written with a capital G, not lower case—never sleeps.