Men Sleep

When God initiates a new covenant, a new relationship with someone, a typical pattern can be discerned. Once a pattern is established early in Genesis, the same pattern can be traced throughout Israel’s Scripture and then fulfilled in the New Testament.

When a new relationship was initiated by God for Adam, God put him in a deep sleep. While Adam slept in the Land, God created a new relationship for him by fashioning a woman from his rib and flesh. Upon awakening from sleep, God brought the woman to the man. A new relationship was initiated for Adam while he slept. It happened again.

The pattern can be traced elsewhere. When God initiated a new relationship, a new covenant with Abraham, God put him into a divinely induced, deep sleep (Gen 15:12) in the Land.[1] When God initiated a new relationship, a new covenant with Jacob, he was asleep in the Land (Gen 28:11).

The pattern from Genesis 2 is repeated. The recipients (Adam, Abraham, and Jacob) of the new covenant, due to the generous provision of God, slept while God did the acting. It is a case of human passivity in the face of divine gracious activity. Man added nothing. He slept. It is a matter of God acting in grace toward people of His choosing. While man sleeps, God acts. By grace, God establishes a covenant.

It’s a pattern, not a series of coincidences.

The Psalmist had some of this in mind when he wrote:

                   “Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves[2] even

                  when they sleep.” Psalm 127:2b

Patterns in Israel’s Scripture are programmatic. That means that if a pattern is found in Israel’s Scripture, a pattern repeated a number of times, we can expect to see the same pattern be fulfilled in the New Testament.

So, since the pattern is established in Israel’s Scripture, we should be able to observe God establishing a new covenant, a new relationship in the New Testament, by putting the recipient of that covenant to sleep. We should and, in fact, we can.

The pattern of a covenant being established with some while they sleep is indeed repeated in the New Testament. What happened to the first Adam while he slept also happened to the last Adam. It’s a pattern, not a coincidence. It’s intentional and profound. Come and join us for this study of men sleeping while God does the making of a covenant, the gracious acting. Men sleep, God acts.



[1] The stories of Adam and Abraham are meant to be parallel with one another. In both narratives, the central figure undergoes a divinely induced sleep. Both stories provide geographical information of a divinely provided land. Both stories conclude, tragically, with an account of a “fall.” The account of Eve (Gen 3) and Sarai (Gen 16) are remarkably alike in wording.

[2] The word “beloved” is yadid, from which we get the name, Jedidiah (beloved of the LORD), better known as Solomon, the son of David given to him by God while he slept. Cf.  2 Samuel 12:24-25; Deut 33:12.