The Land of Nod

The Land of Nod. No, I haven’t been east of Eden in the footsteps of Cain. Just north of the Humber!

What would it be like to live in such a sleepy-sounding village, I wonder? Do all the inhabitants enjoy nights of peaceful slumber and long, lazy, after-lunch siestas? Not that there’s anything wrong with a good night’s sleep – far from it. It’s a wonderful gift, one that many people long in vain to have, something always to be received with thanksgiving. Nor are afternoon naps necessarily a bad idea either. Churchill certainly didn’t think so! But sleeping when you should be awake is potentially disastrous.

The Lord Jesus has something to say to us about that, when He tells us about His second coming. 

But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mark 13:32-37)

He reminds us that He is certainly coming. Exactly when He will return, we do not know, and so we should be ready every day. And what should we be doing? Watching, praying, and working.

Such are the simple injunctions to which our Lord Jesus would have us attend. They ought to stir up in the hearts of all professing Christians great self-examination. Are we looking for our Saviour’s return? Do we long for His appearing? Can we say with sincerity, Come, Lord Jesus? Do we live as if we expected Christ to come again? These are questions which demand serious consideration. May we give them the attention they deserve!

Does our Lord require us to neglect any of the duties of life, in the expectation of His return? He requires nothing of the kind. All He asks is that we should live up to the faith into which we were baptized; should live as penitent people; live as believing people; live as people who know that ‘without holiness no man can see the Lord.’ So living, we are ready to meet our Master. Not living in this way, we are neither fit for death, judgement, nor eternity. Let us never be content with a lower standard of practical Christianity than this.” J C Ryle

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6)

Let us then be sure that whatever we are doing, wherever we are, whoever we are with, we are always ready to meet the Master.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God… Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. (2 Peter 3:10-12a, 14) 

 Ye servants of the Lord,

Each in his office wait,

Observant of His heavenly Word,

And watchful at His gate.


Let all your lamps be bright,

And trim the golden flame;

Gird up your loins as in His sight,

For holy is His Name.


Watch! ‘tis your Lord’s command,

And while we speak He’s near;

Mark the first signal of His hand,

And ready all appear.


O happy servant he,

In such a posture found!

He shall His Lord with rapture see,

And be with honour crowned.


Christ shall the banquet spread

With His own royal hand;

And raise that faithful servant’s head

Amid the angelic band.


Philip Doddridge