Years ago when I was a student at Freed-Hardeman College, we had this prank that we would try to pull on each other. This prank was called “short-sheeting” and what we would do is catch one of our roommates out and while he was gone we would take the covers from his bed and rearrange them so that he would be unable to get into the bed on his return; and, if he did get in the bed, he would be unable to pull his covers up more than half way.
On one occasion this prank was pulled on me. I was tired and got in from a chorus trip about 2:00 a.m. and tried to get in my bed but was met with resistance about half way down. But to keep from giving my roommates the satisfaction of my getting up and remaking my bed, I determined to sleep in it the way it was. I can assure you that this made for a most miserable night and put me in a physically uncomfortable situation. You see, I was in a bed that was too short, and my blanket was too narrow to cover me. But, just as I found myself in this condition due to a prank, Israel, the chosen people of God, found themselves in a similar condition due to sin. Isaiah, God’s prophet described it this way in Isaiah 28:20, “For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.” Their spiritual condition was deplorable, and God was not pleased with it. Looking at this chapter, we see in the first four verses where the prophet described the terrible condition of the Northern tribes of Israel, describing them as a “wilting flower” compared to their former glory, and because they were morally indecent, they were ripe for destruction. Then in verses 7-15 the prophet tells the Southern tribes that they were no better off spiritually, being a mirror image of their sister in the North. As he tried to warn them, the prophet was ridiculed, and his message from God was ignored; and, because they continued on this course, they were “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow,” and were going to be destroyed.
Now my question to everyone today is: How many times do we find ourselves in a bed too short with a cover too narrow? If we stop and examine our lives, we will see that it may be more than we expect. Look with me now at some times we are “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.”
Anyone whose pride will not allow him to repent of known sins is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” One of the first messages we find preached in the New Testament is the message of repentance. John preached this message in the area around Jordan, and our Lord preached along the shores of Galilee. To repent simply means to change, a change of heart that leads to a change of action in our lives. The Lord told us the importance of repentance when He said, “I tell ye nay, but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Brethren and friends, this does not cut us any slack. If we are guilty of sin, we must repent of those sins; and, if we don’t, we will perish in the second death. But so many times we might transgress God’s law, and feel that because it is not some big immoral sin that we don’t have to repent of it, but, if it is a known sin, if we don’t repent we will find ourselves in an inadequate and uncomfortable position at the Judgment. To be saved we must repent of those sins in our lives that have separated us from God.
Anyone who wants an immoral lifestyle while trying to hang on to a semblance of Christianity is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” Galatians 5:19-21 gives us a list of the works of the flesh. That list includes adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling and such like, and we are told that they who do such things “shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” So many times we see members of the Lord’s body who want to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They have forgotten what John taught in I John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the tings that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” When we are baptized into Christ, we are to rise up and begin a new life in Christ. We are to put off the ways of the world and walk in the light, and it is only by walking in the light that we can be assured of that heavenly home. Brethren, anyone who wants to be like the world in dress, entertainment, speech, actions, indulgences, and such while wanting to be known as a Christian, is that person who is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.”
Anyone who refuses to serve God with a spirit of humble submission is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” There is a song that we often sing that goes like this, “To the work, to the work, we are servants of God.” As this song describes, we are exactly that – servants of the Most High God. A servant is defined as “one who serves; one who obeys, ministers, assists.” That perfectly describes what we as Christians should be willing to be. Romans 12:1 tells us that we are to present ourselves to God because that is our reasonable service, or in other words, that is what is expected of us. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Have you thought about the message we will hear at Judgment if we have been found faithful? “Well done my good and faithful servant” is what I am hoping to hear, but to do this I must be His servant here on this earth first. When we get to wanting to be in charge, and make decisions that supersede God’s and no longer want to humbly submit to His Will, His Word, and His Ways, then we are “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.”
Anyone who has a standard for his religion other than the standard God has given is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” God has given us a standard to go by in religion; He just did not leave it to happenstance. This standard governs what we must do to be saved (hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized). This standard governs what we must do to stay saved (live faithfully, godly, righteous, sober lives). This standard governs what we must do to worship (a cappella singing, preaching/teaching the Truth, prayers, giving and partaking of the Lord’s Supper). This standard governs the mission of the church (teaching the lost, building up the brethren spiritually, and helping those in need). And this standard tells us how long we are do all of these things (till death, or until the Lord’s return). God told us not to add or take away from His standard, and if we try to, we will find ourselves “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.”
Finally, anyone who is unprepared to face God right now, is “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” We are assured in Hebrews 9:27 that we are all going to die, and death we will all stand before God and Christ to be judged. There is nothing we can do to change this, and there is no way we can avoid this. At Judgment we will receive the reward for what we have done while here on earth, whether good or evil. There is only one way we can keep from being in a terrible, inadequate position at Judgment. That way is to prepare for it right now. If you have not obeyed the Gospel plan of salvation and are not living a faithful, dedicated life for the Lord, then you are making no plans for the Judgment, and you are “in a bed too short, with a blanket too narrow.” Please examine yourself, and determine if you are in that terrible condition; and, if you are, please listen to the Word and get up and “straighten up the covers” before it is eternally too late!