The Lord, My Confidence

Psalm 4

Superscription of psalm – ascribed to David. Viewed by some as belonging with previous psalm, making a pair with it (Treasury of David). If so came out of time of great personal distress – hurt, betrayal, isolation at hand of both family and friend. If in Psalm 3 we saw into David’s way of thinking, taking charge of thought and mind in midst of great discouragement, here we see into his heart.

Samuel had difficult tasks during his ministry. Twice required to be bearer of God’s bad news to important people. First to Eli – God would “judge his house forever because of the sin he knew about …The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.” (1 Sam. 3:11-18)

Then many years later to King Saul – “You have made a foolish choice! You have not obeyed the commandment that the Lord your God gave you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever! But now your kingdom will not continue!” (1 Sam. 13:13-14)

Important follow-up to message for Saul: “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people.” Apostle Paul confirms suspicions of who that was: “And when He had removed him [Saul], He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22)

A man/woman after God’s heart not only has heart for God, has heart like God’s – passion and compassion for same things God does. God is passionate about own glory, about justice and righteousness and truth, about being glorified in his people. God also rich in mercy, compassionate and loving toward own children and compassionate toward the lost. Find the same in David, should find same in us.

A. a cry in distress v.1

crying out with expectation of being heard

why bother call if you don’t expect to be heard

expectation based in nature and character of God

unchanging, righteous, faithful, merciful and gracious

powerful and active

expectation based on past history

“Here he reviews his Ebenezers and takes comfort from them. It is not to be imagined that he who has helped us in six troubles will leave us in the seventh. God does nothing by halves, and he will never cease to help us until we cease to need.” Treasury of David

Ebenezer – “stone of help”, memorial of help received from God

Samuel …called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Sam. 7:12)

also based on relationship

“God of my righteousness” – God who is my righteousness

not trusting in his own righteousness, rather in righteous God

expected action to accompany audience

believed God would hear, then act in mercy to deliver

it was kind of hearing evidenced by response

understood prayer was essential component of access to God’s provision

B. a challenge to enemies v.2-5

what’s the matter with you? (2)

asked not with raised fist but pleading tones, open hand

what are you thinking?

why are you pursuing what is empty?

why are you believing lies? / think about it

could have taken circumstances personally; instead David saw beyond enemies’ actions to discern why they behaved that way

you can’t succeed (3)

God is on the side of his children

confidence in God, not his (David’s) position

one who will oppose the ungodly is God, not David

they may think their target is David / the godly; reality is different

here’s what you should do:

stand in awe (KJV) / tremble with fear (NET) – word deals with external signs (tremble, quiver, be excited/perturbed) not underlying emotion or reason

stand in awe of God, tremble before God

think about who God is, what he’s done, what he’s promised to do

stop sinning

adding to culpability before God

don’t make situation worse

ponder in your heart

consider what’s really in there

sinner who has even smallest shred of conscience still active knows some truth

about their sinfulness, emptiness, need for something outside themselves

be still / silent / think about it

shut up and listen – pagans usually have all the answers, few questions

need to hear truth that is present around them

especially from godly who are trying to help

offer right sacrifice

worship true God rather than idols

offer sacrifice he expects in way he expects

ultimately looking to Jesus as “the Lamb of God”

trust in the Lord

trust that when true God is approached in way he prescribed, he will keep his promises

any sacrifice offered without faith is worthless

David’s passion for God and compassion for lost interrupted his prayer – caused him to turn from seeking help from God on his own account and offer help to his enemies. Turned attention from his own situation to far worse predicament of the ungodly.

“What are you complaining about aches and pains for? Some are paralyzed and can’t feel anything.” An ok way to think, but there’s better. Our “aches and pains” are confined to this life, not a part of next life; all ungodly have to look forward to is eternal “aches and pains”, far worse than anything experienced in this life.

C. a confident conclusion v.6-8

contrast => believer vs enemy of God

results of unbelievers’ desperate searching v.2b (6a)

captivation with empty things, pursuit of things that promise satisfaction but don’t deliver

“who can show us anything good?”

believer’s answer (6b)

“God can”

question asked at GA: everyone today seems to be discontented with everything, including those within the church; what’s the solution? Answer: proclaim Christ.

of first importance to David: God’s smile, nothing else mattered if that not present

perhaps also in David’s mind – priestly benediction, all it means to God’s people

Numbers 6:24-26The LORD bless you and keep you;the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

smile indicates God’s intention to bless, to be gracious

here’s proof believer’s answer is valid

the one trusting in God experiences:

true joy (7a)

gladness of heart – deep roots, starts inside and shows outside

is independent of circumstances, can be impervious to circumstances

true contentment (7b)

something the ungodly do not experience even in good times

raises the baseline

doesn’t flatten out highs / lows like Buddhist tries to do

doesn’t seek higher highs like the materialist

does find satisfaction in the one who changes not

“While men of the world, from the world are seeking their chief good, let us desire the Lord’s favour which infinitely transcends corn and wine, and all the good things which perish in the using. Yes, Lord, thy favour is better than life itself.” Robert Hawker

true peace (8a)

during active portion of our day, easier to put aside cares / worries, focus on immediate task

not so much when lights go out, when we’re left with only our thoughts

that’s when true condition of heart apt to show – is it at rest?

word order important: in peace I will lay me down and sleep; further reflection – consider all Bible promises concerning peace

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you (John 14:27) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:2) Let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Col. 3:15) Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way (2 Thess. 3:16) Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you (Jude 1:2)

true security (8b)

“They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep.” CHS

whether we wake here or in glory, believer is absolutely safe and secure in God’s keeping

“Yes, my heart is fixed, O Lord, my heart is fixed; Jesus is my hope and righteousness, the Lord will hear me when I call. And henceforth will I both lay me down in peace and sleep securely in Jesus, accepted in the Beloved; for this is the rest wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing.” Hawker

Very likely David wrote with intention this psalm would be used in worship: superscription at beginning contains dedication to the Choir Director, instruction that it would be accompanied. Worship music that was intended to glorify God, challenge the ungodly, comfort and encourage the godly. You never know who’s listening when you sing God’s praises!

May we never be so overcome by circumstances that we lose passion to help the lost. Instead may God so enable us to rest in his faithful providence that we are even more fervent in our desire to see unsaved friends and loved ones come to Christ. And, may joy and contentment, peace and security be so evident in our lives that it’s obvious the Lord is our confidence.

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