July 01, 2024

Creative Sleep

Genesis 2:4-22

The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.

—  Genesis 2:21

When God created the world, he built into his creatures the need for rest and sleep. Some creatures, like frogs, barely sleep at all; but others, like koalas, sleep over 20 hours a day. We humans spend about a quarter to a third of our lives sleeping. Without sleep, our bodies cannot restore and repair themselves.

In Genesis 2 we read of a particular occasion when God causes Adam, the father of humankind, “to fall into a deep sleep.” God’s purpose wasn’t to trick or deceive Adam while he was sleeping. At this pivotal moment in history, God continued his creative work in order to bless Adam, all humanity, and all of creation. While Adam was asleep, God used one of his ribs to create a woman, who would be the mother of humankind. And she was named Eve to reflect that (Genesis 3:20).

This story tells us much about the beginnings of human life. It shows God’s creative power and his care for us as he brings us into the world he has made. We learn that we need God, we need each other, and we need the world God created for us. As we live in and take care of this world, we also need sleep. What’s more, God used sleep in a special way to complete his creation. As you prepare for sleep today, give thanks for the blessings of rest and sleep—and for God’s faithful sustenance and care.

Father, by your hand we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for sleep and for your care over us as we rest in you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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