Rest well, for the Lord is awake

During the 1960s and 1970s, I served as a chaplain in the Tennessee Army National Guard. One of the favorite slogans the Guard used back then to build public relations and recruitment was, “Rest well tonight, for your National Guard is awake.”


Every now and then I would hear or read this statement one time too many, and I would have to speak out in the name of good Biblical theology.

So, at one of the National Guard Sunday services, I would say that we believers should sleep well at night, not only because we National Guard troops are on-guard, but because the Lord God omnipotent reigns, because God, to whom we have given our primary allegiance, neither slumbers nor sleeps. The psalmist was right: “Unless the Lord keeps watch over the city, in vain does the watchman stand guard over the night.” (Psalm 127:1-2)

We are to commit our lives and those we love into the safe keeping of that source of power that cannot be destroyed by sword or spear, by terrorist attacks, high explosives or even nuclear bombs. Our ultimate source of security and peace of mind lies in the hands of the Holy One, the Lord God of hosts, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, every generation has to learn that hard truth. History is so much on the side of the Bible. Take for example the story of the Battle of Waterloo.

Napoleon said, “God is on the side of the army with the biggest guns.”

The English army under the command of the Duke of Wellington was losing the battle and in desperate need of reinforcements commanded by a man named Blücher. Napoleon did have the biggest guns, and if his theory of warfare had been correct, he would have won at Waterloo. So, why did Napoleon lose? It was because of a simple rain shower. That’s right – a rain shower forced the delay of the battle until the ground could dry out enough to move those big guns. Because of the delay, Blücher’s army had time to join Wellington to defeat Napoleon. Had Napoleon been a student of the Bible he would have known the story of Gideon, who relied on God and not military superiority to achieve victory.

We are to place our ultimate hope and reliance upon that which does not perish, upon that source of power that cannot be rendered useless in the mud. The greatest source of strength, confidence and inner peace of mind as individuals and a nation comes from the fact that God reigns supreme as Lord of lords and King of kings. God is not only the Lord of history, but God is in charge of this whole universe. He will protect and defend us from whatever comes to pass.

Rest well tonight, for the Lord of lords and King of kings is in charge, and he neither slumbers nor sleeps. As was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen. Amen!

The Rev. Gene Norris is a Presbyterian pastor in Augusta.