Psalms 46

Introduction:   The scriptures record many, many instances when God gave Israel victory in battle over her enemies.  But this particular psalm is somewhat unusual – it does not celebrate an offensive victory in battle.  Instead, it gives glory and honor to God for his successful defense against an enemy. 


What was the exact historical circumstance the author was celebrating with this song?  Many answers have been given, including the defeat of the Assyrians (led by Sennacherib) and the miraculous destruction of their army.  If you haven’t read this account recently, you really should review it.  You can find it in II Kings 19 and Isaiah chapters 36 and 37.

In that particular incident, which happened during the reign of King Hezekiah, Israel did not fight at all.  She was under siege by the Assyrian army, and she simply waited for God to rescue her.  It is an amazing testimony to the power of God!

II Kings 19:34 – For I [God] will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.

Other people believe this Psalm speaks of a time that is future – the day when Christ returns to earth and rescues Israel from those who are yet to surround her, and then sets up his millennial kingdom.      

While these two examples could certainly be the basis for this Psalm, we really don’t know what circumstance prompted the writer to pen this song of praise and glory to God.  But in some ways, I am glad we don’t know.

The truth is that in every generation there are people of God who need to be rescued from their adversaries.  And in every generation, God answers that call.  Therefore, this is a timeless Psalm that applies to Christians of every age, including us. 

Psalms 46:1 – To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.  A Song.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Surely the children of Israel had good cause to declare that God was their refuge.  Time and time again they fled to the protection of the Father and he saved them.  Just consider a few examples: 

  • Pharaoh and his army thought they had trapped the Israelites at the Red Sea, but God prepared a dry path through the water (Exodus 14:21-22). 
  • The Midianites ravaged the land of Israel, stealing all her crops, but God used Gideon and 300 other men to destroy that innumerable army (Judges 6 and 7). 
  • Haman planned to exterminate the Jews, but God rescued them through Queen Esther. 

The examples go on and on – which ones come to your mind?

God is also a safe refuge for the church.  Many times in the New Testament, we find great persecution breaking out as Satan attempts to destroy the fledgling church (Acts 8:1).  But God not only protects and preserves the church, he causes it to flourish even in the midst of evil. 

As believers, each of us can trust in God as our refuge (Psalms 9:9).  I know you have done so many times in your life, because I have too.  What were some of the circumstances when God was a refuge for you? 

 The Israelites were also living proof of God’s strength.  From the Egyptians to the Amorites to the Nazis, many groups have endeavored to completely destroy this nation.  Yet none have been successful, because God is their strength!  When they were weak, he was strong.  When they should have been wiped out, he intervened. 

The church of Jesus Christ can make the same claim.  From its inception during Roman rule, throughout the crusades and in the midst of modern-day persecution, Satan seeks to destroy her time and time again.  But the church is still here.  Even now, in the last dispensation of time, God is strengthening the church.  He is pouring out his Spirit upon us, to make us victorious over the enemy. 

The psalmist adds that God is a very present help in times of trouble. 

I am sure that King Hezekiah would agree, as he sat in Jerusalem while it was besieged by the Assyrians.  God assured him through the prophet Isaiah that victory would come, and it did.  God sent an angel of destruction who killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night, and the next morning what remained of the enemy withdrew from Jerusalem. 

I am sure that America would agree, as they fought for independence from Britain.  The settlers desired a country where they could freely worship God.  God granted that request and so much more!

I am sure that you would agree too.  When has God been a very present help to you?

Psalms 46:2-3 – Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  Selah.

Have you noticed that over and over in the scriptures, God gives us the mandate ‘Fear Not’?  We should be using this as a motto! 

  • God assures us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). 
  • He assures us that if he is for us, no one can be against us (Romans 8:31).   
  • Long ago he let us know that he is greater and more powerful than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). 
  • Our own experience should give us a personal confirmation that we should not be living in fear.

In fact, it is our great privilege and duty to be living in boldness without fear.  The psalmist recognized that fact and thus he penned the declaration ‘though the earth gives way’ and/or ‘the mountains be moved into the sea’, those who trust in God have no reason to fear.

Let’s discuss the ‘earth gives way’.  Certainly, this could be taken literally to mean that the entire earth would fall from the heavens.  But if that happened, fear would only be a factor for a matter of moments before all life would cease (either burned up or frozen, depending on which direction the planet would go). 

Alternatively, some catastrophic event could occur that literally causes the mountains to crash down into the sea.  But again, if that happened, the result would be a quick death for every living thing on the planet. 

Is there another interpretation?  We must keep in mind that the psalms are poetic in nature.   Poetry frequently assigns human characteristics to inanimate objects.  Could that be what is happening here? 

Did you know that the scriptures often use the sea as a metaphor for the nations of the world (Daniel 7:1-6), and mountains as individual kingdoms (Amos 6:1)?  The overall picture given here in poetic form is a situation in which the nations of the world are in turmoil.  No nation has an answer for the problems its people face.  Governments are constantly being overturned by rebellions or coups.  Each nation fears hostility from other nations, and worries what will happen to them if uncontrolled conflict erupts.  There is no ‘world leader’ to maintain peace and order.

I don’t know about you, but that type of situation would invite fear into my life! 

But as the people of God, we don’t have to open the door to the spirit of fear when it comes knocking.  Christians stand upon the solid, unchanging rock Christ Jesus.  Our treasures are in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed; our life with God continues when this life is over.  We have been assured that Jesus is returning for his bride, and our future rests in him. 

In fact, if the earth suddenly evaporates, the person who has cause to fear is the unbeliever, who has laid up all their treasures on earth.  They will lose what they had in this life, and they have no life in eternity. 

Do you see any parallels to this passage and the situation of the world governments today?  If so, does a spirit of fear try to rise up and take control of your life?  Don’t allow yourself to get hit with that fiery dart of the enemy!  Get out your shield of faith and repel it.  Utilize your sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and chase fear away!

Psalms 46:4-5 – There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

In opposition to the chaotic, fearful turmoil of the sea (world), God offers his people a river that flows from his habitation.  It is a river of peace and calmness.  It is a river of joy and blessing.  It is a river protection and healing.  It is a river of wisdom and strength.  It is a life-giving river.

Physically speaking, the psalmist probably refers to the waters of Siloam, which travel softly by Jerusalem (Isaiah 8:6-7).  This river was a defense to the people of God during the reign of Hezekiah (Isaiah 22:10-11). 

But spiritually speaking, there is a river of God that flows from his habitation or throne in heaven (Revelation 22:1-2).  The Tree of Life, whose leaves heal the nations, is on either side of it.  This is the same water that Jesus refers to in John 7:38-39, when he says out of our hearts (belly or literally womb) would flow rivers of living water.  This river of water refers to the Holy Spirit. 

The river or presence of the Holy Spirit brings the people of God peace, calmness, joy, blessing, guidance, wisdom, protection and healing.  The Spirit of God gives us life. 

How would you classify your relationship to Holy Spirit?  Is it a close intimate one, or are you just acquaintances?  You can change your relationship with the Spirit in the same way you change physical relationships.  You get to know him better by spending time with him (prayer) by learning who he is and what his plans are (reading the word), and by engaging with him during your everyday life. 

Holy Spirit has gifts for you personally and gifts from God that he wants to manifest through you to a lost and dying world.  Are you open to that kind of a relationship with him?

Psalms 46:6-7  – The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah.

God is sovereign over all the nations of this world.  He rules from heaven by his power and providence, overruling all the affairs of men to bring about his own plans and glory. 

He stops or holds in check the rage and power of the nations that oppose him and his interests in the world.  No one can stop him.

Not that men haven’t tried… there were many people and nations who opposed Israel and opposed David as king, but God overruled them.  He spoke (uttered) his plans and purposes into existence; at his command, Israel was made a nation and David was made king.

Even now, there are many people and nations that oppose God’s people – Israel, America and the church.  But we have a sure hope in God.  He cannot be moved.  If we allow ourselves to flow in the river of Holy Spirit and learn to obey him, we will be able to say “The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!”

Through God, our nation can be saved and re-established in righteousness, leaving us a nation and a heritage that we can pass on to our descendants. 

Psalms 46:8-9 – Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

The scriptures record many instances of God bringing desolation or destruction upon kingdoms, cities and nations of the world. 

Again, the writer may have had the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in mind when he penned this poem.  But there are other instances as well.  God caused a very great destruction to come upon the cities of the Philistines when they took the Ark of the Covenant (I Samuel 5:9), he utterly destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25), and he has promised to destroy the lands of God and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).  What other examples can you think of?

Obviously, no weapon of man can fight against the Lord; human military assets (bows, chariots, tanks, missiles, nuclear warheads) are useless against God.   

What point is the writer trying to make?  He is inviting the reader to contemplate known instances in which God has not just given victory to his people, but utterly and completely annihilated the enemy. 

By examining the evidence, the reader’s faith is increased because he or she is reminded how completely and totally God delivers his people and brings an end to war.  This is abundant proof that God is able to protect his people in times of danger. 

What modern day instances could be studied for this purpose?  How about the six-day war of 1967, in which Israel conquered her enemies?

Psalms 46:10-11 – Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah.

After considering the great victories that God has wrought on behalf of his people, it should be much easier for us to be still and trust in him.

God has done, is doing and will continue to do great and mighty things.  In the midst of turmoil let us be reminded that God is working on our behalf, even when we don’t see it!  He will bring about victory, even when the situation looks impossible to us!  His arm is never short that it cannot save! 

Let us remind ourselves about God’s faithfulness.  He is faithful in every generation, even when we are not.  For that reason, we can live confidently knowing that he will bring about the perfect resolution to every situation we face in his perfect time.  There is no cause to worry or fret.  As we abide in him, we can be still and see him be glorified on the earth. 

Hebrews 13:6 – So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.

The mighty acts of God are also a witness to the unbelievers of the world.  At some point they too must be still in his presence.  Though they hate God, they will be forced to acknowledge that he is Lord, by bowing before him (Romans 14:11). 

Believers of every generation can triumph and rejoice in the fact that we have God’s presence with us; the God of ALL power, authority and dominion is our Father!  God has bound us to himself through a covenant of blood through his only Son. 

Let me give you some encouragement, relief and strength… The God of Jacob is our fortress!

Psalms 101

Introduction:  Clearly, this Psalm was penned by David.  However, the time and place of writing is uncertain.  It seems as though the Psalm was written as he contemplated entering domestic life – being the head of his own household and family.  He lays down the rules or the standards which will govern his home and his family life. 


David then concludes that these same principles should govern not only his household, but his business dealings and his kingdom; they apply to all avenues of life. 

That being the case, the poetic verses of this Psalm are timeless.  Its principles have a universal application to God fearing men and women of all ages, backgrounds and levels of authority.

Psalms 101:1 – A Psalm of David.  I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.

Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  Therefore, we can conclude that David has been meditating on both the mercy (steadfast love) and justice (judgment) of God.    

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  It can also be defined as an action motivated by compassion, performed out of a desire to relieve suffering. 

Justice is fairness; moral uprightness, just dealing or right action; using power/authority to support fair treatment and due reward.

When David considers these two aspects of God’s character, it produces a profound joy which wells up inside him and bursts out as a song!

It should produce the same reaction in us.  Let’s briefly consider God’s mercy.  When mankind rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, we essentially gave our earthly authority to Satan.  At that point, we were subject to him.  Since his main focuses are stealing, killing and destroying, that is what mankind could expect to get from him.

And that is exactly what we received.  Look around you.  Satan has tried to steal/kill/destroy everything that affects you.  He wants to steal your peace and leave you with anxiety.  He wants to steal your joy and leave you with depression.  He wants to kill your hopes, your dreams and your creativity.  He wants to destroy your health, your relationships, your finances and anything else he can get his hands on.   Consider what he did to Job!

But, hallelujah, the mercy of God has been manifested on the earth!  Because of the sacrifice of Christ, we no longer have to suffer under the dominion of Satan.  We can now experience true joy, peace and fulfillment.  We can live in hope.  We can see our dreams come true and our creativity benefitting mankind.  We can have lives that include good health, satisfying relationships, and abundant finances.

Stop and consider the mercy of God in your own life.  What has he done for you?  Don’t be afraid to sing your own personal song of praise to God for what he has done for you.  It doesn’t have to be perfect – just sincere.  I am sure God would love to hear it!

David also recognized that God’s mercy is perfectly tempered by his justice/judgment.  God is longsuffering towards all sinners.  It is his desire for all men to be saved (II Peter 3:9).  But eventually, justice will come.  Those who choose to be enemies of God will eventually be punished by him.  Those who abuse and destroy the people of God (Jews and Christians) will eventually find themselves facing the wrath of God.  Sin will eventually be judged and punishment decreed. 

Every once in a while, you still find people who declare that God is love and he would never send anyone to hell.  Clearly, they have never taken the time to read the Bible!  God is certainly love; there can be no doubt about that.  But God’s love is perfectly matched with his justice.  Therefore, he will punish those who do not turn from rebelling against him.

We primarily consider justice in regard to our enemy (Satan) and his followers, but justice also plays a role in discipline.  God does the right or just thing when he corrects us.  God loves his people, but like any good Father, he will discipline them if needed.   

Children who grow up without any discipline wind up being unstable and unreasonable adults.  If Christians grew up without any discipline from God, they would wind up being big spiritual babies, unfit to contribute to the kingdom of God.  God loves his children too much to allow them to end up that way.     

In David’s case, he sees how God’s perfect combination of mercy and justice bring forth a stable, peaceful environment that cultivates success of every kind.  Creativity and accomplishment, peace and joy, hopes and dreams all flourish under this type of loving yet controlled circumstance.  This is what David desires for his own household.  What principles are you using as the foundation for your house?

Psalms 101:2 – I will ponder the way that is blameless.  Oh when will you come to me?  I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

Our translation says “I will ponder the way that is blameless”, but I think the King James Version is significantly better.  It says “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way”.  One reason I think this is so much better is because there is a big difference between ‘pondering’ and ‘behaving’.  Anyone can ponder or think about doing the right thing, but actually doing it is something else all together!

However, David’s point is a good one – if you purpose in your heart to do what is right, that is likely what you will do when temptation comes.  

By purposing in our hearts and reminding ourselves that we will do what is righteous, we are building up a defense against evil attacks.  Let’s face it – we all have areas of weakness.  So right now, you can begin to rehearse God’s laws in your mind.  You can begin to purpose not to succumb to temptation in that area.  If we wait until the moment of temptation to decide how to handle things, the outcome might not be so good!

 David’s desire is that when God visits his house, He will find it being run according to righteous principles, including mercy and justice.  These principles apply to his own conduct, the way he treats those under his authority and anyone in his employ.  These are the rules that should govern our everyday lives:

Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Sometimes we try to make Christianity so complicated, but it really isn’t!  Loving God and treating our neighbors as ourselves really is the heart of Christianity.

 Here is something else to consider:  those who are faithful in little things make themselves available to God for much bigger things:

Luke 19:17 – And he said unto him, Well done, good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.

Have you ever desired for God to use you to accomplish something for his kingdom?  He is not going to start you out as the overseer of a million people.  That wouldn’t be fair to you or them!  But if you are willing to minister to just one, and you do a good job, he may just give you two, or five.  Then 10 or 20 or more. 

David will one day rule the nation, but he needs to rule his own house first.  So if your desire is to do more or greater things for God, make sure you are being a wise steward of what you currently have!

Psalms 101:3-4 – I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.  I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.  A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

Have you ever taken a walk through the woods and found brambles or briars stuck to your clothing when you returned?  Or even worse, maybe you found a tick that hitched a ride on you or your pet.  Obviously, you don’t want briars or ticks clinging to you; you no doubt find them abhorrent and you will remove them immediately. 

Spiritually speaking, you can’t separate yourself from the world – you have to walk through it.  You are going to come into contact with people who do wicked things.  But David vows that this kind of person will not have a place of influence or authority in his world.  He hates their evil works; he will not allow their evil to cling to him like a tick. 

Although ticks are small, they feed on your life’s blood and infect you with disease.  In the same way, sin can be small, but it is not harmless!  Let me repeat that:  You may have a sin that seems small or insignificant, but no sin is harmless

David understands that any sin which clings to him will affect his reputation, his family and his kingdom.  For this reason, he vows to keep even the smallest sin away from his sight.

What about you?  Do you have sin in your life that you consider to be small?  Answer this question – What makes it small?

As humans, we tend to categorize sin into what we consider small sins (white lies, holding a grudge) and big sins (murder), but God makes no such distinctions.  All sin is despicable in the sight of God.  No sin of any kind can exist in the presence of his holiness.  It might be time for us to adopt David’s view of sin!  

Psalms 101:5 – Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.  Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

David now speaks of two specific sins that still occur in the present time.  Both are very destructive. 

If a person has something good to say about someone else, they will normally say it openly.  However, if they have something bad to say, it will likely be said in secret.  This is how rumors get started, how reputations get tarnished, how ministries are destroyed and how churches are torn apart.  Just think about how much damage has been done to people (and the cause of Christ) with just this one sin! 

The wickedness perpetrated by secretly speaking evil can be likened to an ambush – the person under attack does not even know they are being assaulted!  They have no chance to defend themselves.  By the time they discover a rumor is out there, the damage has been done and it is virtually impossible to repair.  This is a despicable sin; yet who among us has not either participated in it or been a victim of it?

The second sin David specifically mentions is pride or an arrogant heart.  This person considers themselves to be better than others.  As a result of this belief, they will not hesitate to slander someone.  They will not hesitate to withhold mercy or justice. 

In addition, they often consider themselves to be above the law.  This is very dangerous mindset for anyone in authority.  Fortunately for the people of Israel, David has vowed that he hates these sins and they will have no place in the administration of his kingdom.  Truly, David was a man after God’s own heart.  Are you?   

Psalms 101:6 – I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

Every ruler, including the president of the United States, has advisors, councilors and confidants.  These are people who assist or advise the president in making decisions that will affect the whole nation.  If these advisors are wicked, what will happen to the nation and its people? 

Instead of looking upon or endorsing that which is evil, David will place his favor upon people who are faithful, humble, upright servants of God.  These are the qualifications he is looking for in his future councilors and confidants.  If the ruler of the nation and his advisors are righteous, what will happen to the nation and its people?

In this case, we don’t have to wonder – we know.  The reigns of David and his son Solomon are considered the ‘golden age’ of Israel.  It was a time characterized by peace, prosperity and justice.  People were happy and free to enjoy life.  As a nation, Israel enjoyed the respect of other nations.  In the midst of all this, God was glorified.

But not too long afterward, we find a ruler who surrounded himself with worthless advisors.  He was Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.  You can read the whole story in I Kings chapter 12, but basically it went something like this:  Immediately after Rehoboam became king, the people came to him and asked him to cut their taxes.

The councilors who previously served Solomon advised the new king to earn the loyalty of the people by giving them a tax break.  The new, haughty councilors chosen by Rehoboam advised the king to make the taxes even higher! 

The king chose the advice of the arrogant young men, and increased the taxes.  As a result, there was a rebellion.  Eleven of the twelve tribes of Israel decided to elect and serve a new king (Jeroboam), and Rehoboam was left to rule only the tribe of Judah.  Too bad Rehoboam surrounded himself with haughty, unwise advisors! 

Who are you taking advice from?  When you have an issue and you need wise council, who do you turn to?  Are they basing their wisdom on God’s law or man’s?             

Psalms 101:7 – No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.  

The man or woman who exhibited dishonesty, false pretences or trickery was not going to be a part of David’s life.  He would not go into business with them, make an alliance or partnership with them, employ them or allow them to occupy a place of authority in his kingdom. 

If a person of this character somehow made it into the life of David, he was determined to banish them as soon as he found out.  While this may have seemed ridiculous or overly zealous at the time, David ensured a smooth life for himself by nipping trouble in the bud.  By not entangling himself with these men in the first place, he spared himself the cost and embarrassment of being associated with them later on, when their sins were made public.

Now there is some really, really good advice – do with it as you will!

Psalms 101:8 – Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.

The city of the Lord is Jerusalem.  At the time he composed this Psalm David was not yet king.  He is purposing in his heart what he will do when his kingdom is established.

The same principles that he will use to run his own household are the ones he will use to govern all of God’s people.  When he is king, he will do everything within his power to purge the land from wicked people and their practices. 

The phrase ‘morning by morning’ indicates that this effort will be constant.  It isn’t something that David can do one time and the issue will be permanently settled.  Evil will not stay at bay forever; those who want to purge it from their society/culture must always be on guard or it will creep back in.

Let me offer you some encouragement:

It seems as though the Christians in our nation have run away from serving in public office.  This has turned out to be a mistake!  We need men and women of God who are willing to serve in public office and steward that position of authority and power for the glory of God, just as David did.   

If you feel God is calling you to some public office (no matter what that might be), I encourage you to pursue that with all of your might!  Your community and your nation need you!

Let me offer you some relief:

David determined very early in his life to exhibit mercy and justice in all of his affairs, starting with his own household.  Maybe you already have a household, but you started out with different laws like anger or favoritism.  Let me offer you some relief – it’s not too late to change! 

Begin to purpose in your heart that you want to treat those in your household and place of employment with the same principles that David did.  Begin to ask Holy Spirit to help you make that change. 

Let me offer you some strength:

Basing your life on Christian principles in general and mercy/justice in particular, is going to make you different from the world around you.  That is a good thing!  When people see those principles at work in your life, they will want to be part of what you are doing!  Who doesn’t want to work for a person who shows mercy and justice? 

So determine in your heart what you are going to do, and stick to it.  God will give you the strength to establish these principles in your life and he will bring about opportunities to be a witness for him!


Psalms, Chapter 4

Hello!  I hope you enjoyed our last study on the book of II Peter.  Rather than beginning a new book, we are going to spend the last few weeks of summer by looking at some of the Psalms. 

A study of the entire book would be quite an undertaking – at 150 chapters it would take years!  Instead, we will spread them out over time, examining a few here and there. 

Our look at the Psalms will be a bit different from our study of other biblical books.  Since this is a book of poetry/songs, we are going to read and reflect on the main concepts, rather than intently studying every aspect of it.  So let’s relax and meditate on our wonderful heavenly Father!

Psalms 4:1 – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!  You have given me relief when I was in distress.  Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

Psalms 3 and 4 were composed by King David.  It appears as though they were written as a pair – the third Psalm being sung in morning worship, and the fourth Psalm sung as the evening worship of the same day.

The circumstances under which this song was written are not specifically revealed in the song itself, however, both Jewish interpreters and Christian expositors are in agreement that it was written during the rebellion of Absalom (see II Samuel 13-19 for the complete story).

Let’s consider that for a moment.  We are well aware that David was not perfect.  We also know that he had a lot of family problems, especially with his kids.  Perhaps our first reflection is that following Jesus does not guarantee a trouble-free life!

How should we respond to the trouble that is sure to cross our path?  David says “Answer me when I call, O God”.   To call on God means to pray; to reach out to the one who holds our future in his hands. He formed us in our mother’s womb; he knows when we sit down, when we rise up, and every word we speak before it passes our lips.  He knows the number of hairs on our head and he knows the plans he has for us.  What a comfort to call upon God in prayer knowing that he is bigger than any problem we face. Hallelujah!  

Here is one of the wonderful things about prayer:  It is as individual as each one of us!  No two people pray in the same manner.  Some people are very formal when they pray, while others are more relaxed.  Some people like to walk around while some kneel or sit.  Some speak loudly, while others whisper.  We can pray with our understanding and we can pray in the Spirit.  Sometimes, when our grief or pain is extremely intense we only have to call out his name – Jesus – and he is there to comfort us, bringing peace and strength. 

I really hope that you are not embarrassed or ashamed of the way you pray.  I hope you don’t compare your prayers to the prayers of others.  I hope you are not afraid to pray out loud in front of other people.  Since your relationship with God is unique, it only makes sense that your prayer life will be also.  Just relax and talk to your Father in whatever way seems natural to you.     

Aren’t you glad that you have a relationship with God?  Aren’t you glad that Jesus paid the price for your sin, so you can go boldly into the throne room of God and obtain help in the times of trouble?

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

Why can David so confidently bring his petitions before the Lord?  Because he knows from experience that “You have given me relief when I was in distress.”  In other words, God not only hears our prayers, he answers them! 

Take a few moments right now to reflect on that: 

  • What is the biggest prayer that God answered for you?  Think back and remember the times when you thought there was no possible answer to your dilemma, but God stunned you by making a way. 
  • Now, consider the smallest, seemingly insignificant prayer that God answered for you.  Isn’t it amazing that he cares about every aspect of your life?  Isn’t it incredible that he wants to be involved in everything that concerns you, whether big or small?  God is so good!

As you reflect on the answers to past prayers, let it fuel your faith for your current situation.  God answered you in the past and he will do it again.

Psalms 4:2 –O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?  How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?  Selah.

Switching subjects, David now poetically addresses his adversaries – those engaged in persecuting him.  In his case, that would be Absalom and his followers who had caused David to flee Jerusalem.  They want to see David running for his life, reduced to poverty and shame, while they rise up to claim the authority and honor of his throne.

But these wicked men are making a big mistake.  Their evil desires are vain and hopeless.  Ultimately, they will be unsuccessful.  Why is that? 

It’s because they ignored the fact that David did not anoint himself as king – GOD did!  The wicked plans of man cannot over rule the purposes of God.  No matter how hard these men tried, they were not going to take the kingdom from David.  Fighting against David was like fighting against God himself. 

What a comforting thought!  Even now there are evil forces at work in the world that want to steal the blessings God has set aside for you (and for America).  They will try to discourage you, humiliate you and bring you to ruin.  They will throw roadblocks along your path.  They will even curse you, as Shimei did to David as he fled from Absalom (II Samuel 16:13).

But don’t listen to them!  Your hope is in God.  He will lead you, sustain you and empower you to fulfill the unique destiny he has prepared for you.

In the natural realm, Absalom represented a very real and grievous threat to David’s kingdom.  But in the spiritual realm, the only thing that could have caused David to lose the kingdom was…. David himself.  If he had given up hope or ceased to believe the promises of God, Absalom would indeed have usurped the throne.  However, as David continued to trust in God, the plans of his adversaries were thwarted. 

God is standing by to do the same for you.  Seek him, place your faith in him, and obey what he commands you to do.  Victory will be yours!

Psalms 4:3 – But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

Do you have some special possession that you cherish?  Think about that item as you ask yourself these questions:  What makes it special?  Is it valuable?  Is it one of a kind?  Is it beautiful?  Does it bring you joy?  Does it remind you of someone you love?

David tells us that God considers YOU a precious treasure that he has set apart for himself!  You are special to GodGod considers you priceless.  I know that because he spent the blood of his only Son just to buy you back from sin.  You are one of a kind.  God has made billions of people yet each one of us have different DNA and different fingerprints.  You were not made on an assembly line, you were custom made by your Father.  Are you beautiful?  Of course you are!  Don’t judge yourself by the shallow and ever-changing beauty standards of mankind.  God loves beauty and everything he creates contains it. Do you bring joy to God?  You sure do!

Isaiah 62:5 – … as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Know this:  God has set YOU aside for himself.  He has set his favor upon you.  He has created you to be a living temple, full of his Spirit, reflecting his glory.  He has chosen you to represent him in this generation, and to exercise His authority on earth.  He has given you the keys to his kingdom and power over the enemy.  Obviously, when you call out to him, he is going to hear you!

Psalms 4:4 – Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.  Selah.

“Be angry” can also be translated “Stand in awe”.  David is calling upon us to consider the awesome holiness, character and power of God.  When we consider the character and nature of God, it should make us painfully aware of our own sin.   It should inspire us to be more holy.

What facet of God’s character is most precious to you?  Is it his righteousness?  His mercy?  His perfection?  His love?  His wisdom?  It’s hard to choose just one, isn’t it?  And just think – these are the parts of God that we know about.  I have a feeling there is much more to be discovered!

David also encourages us to soberly examine our own hearts/lives.  What have we said and done today?  Were our actions, thoughts and words pleasing to the Lord?  Did they encourage and edify others?  Did they lead sinners to the light of Jesus Christ?   If not, what changes can we make? 

I have to add this final thought:  Examining our own lives is essential, but doing so in bed may not be such a good idea.  Personally, I would be asleep in three minutes!

Psalms 4:5 – Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

Let’s talk about sacrifice for a minute.  To sacrifice means to give up something of importance or value for the sake of other considerations. 

Obviously, this is a concept presented all throughout scripture, with Jesus as the ultimate example.  God gave up something of importance or value to himself in order to redeem you and me. 

Let’s consider the nature of sacrifices.  In the New Testament, Jesus watched people putting money into the offering plate at the temple.  He declared that a widow who gave a penny had sacrificed more than others who put in $100 (Mark 12:41-44). 

According to Jesus, the value of the sacrifice was based on how much it cost the giver.  In other words, the man who gave $100 wasn’t going to miss it much, so it wasn’t a costly sacrifice for him.  Meanwhile, the widow literally had nothing so the penny she placed in the plate was all she had to sustain herself.  For that reason, it was a very costly sacrifice indeed. 

Here is another example.  King David was in the midst of a huge crisis.  An avenging angel was destroying the people of Israel.  David knew that a proper sacrifice to the Lord could stop the judgment.  At that point, one of his subjects offered him a tract of land and some excellent oxen for free; David could sacrifice them immediately.  But David refused the offer: 

II Samuel 24:24 – But the king [David] said to Araunah… “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”

David understood the concept of a ‘right’ sacrifice.  If there was no true cost to David then his sacrifice would have been just like the $100 given to the temple by the rich man.  It would not have caused God to stop the avenging angel.

But David paused and purchased the land and oxen from Araunah at full price.  As a result, the sacrifice was legitimate, and it was accepted by God.    

What is the nature of your sacrifice to God?  Are you giving him time, money or talents that you wouldn’t miss anyway, or does your sacrifice represent a true cost?

Psalms 4:6-7 – There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?  Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”  You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

How do sinners like Absalom define ‘good’?  They look for the fleeting honors and pleasures of this life, such as food, drink, entertainment and economic stability.   They look no further than the comforts of the flesh.

But true believers know that these things are of no value without a right relationship to God.  What good is the security of this life, unless one has eternal security for their soul?

Matthew 16:26 – For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  

Would you give anything in exchange for your eternal soul?  NO WAY!  There may be times when you are tempted to envy the material possessions of others.  But don’t take Satan’s bait! 

As David indicates, true joy comes when God turns his face towards us and we have a relationship with him.  For the Christian, nothing can compare to the richness and exhilaration of a life lived with Christ.   This kind of life is not tied to how much money you make, where you live, or what you eat.  It is for anyone and everyone!

Psalms 4:8 – In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. 

As Christians, we should be able to lay down at night and get some rest, free of worry about our enemies and their plans. 

  • We do this by releasing our fears and concerns to God through prayer and worship. 
  • We do this by using our shield of faith to repel the fiery darts of worry and anxiety that Satan tries to launch at us at 2 am!   
  • We do this by using the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) against the lies of the enemy. 

God has given us the tools for a good night’s sleep – let’s use them!

But consider this as well:  Sleep is also a euphemism for death.  At some point, you and I will go to ‘sleep’ on earth and wake up in heaven.  As believers, we are safe and secure in the knowledge that God has prepared a place for us in his eternal kingdom, where we will live in his presence forevermore! 

Let me offer you some encouragement: 

We all know there are struggles in this life.  But let’s rise above that.  Let’s be like David – let’s worship in the morning, preparing ourselves to serve Christ that day.  And let’s worship him in the evening, knowing that we rest in the peace and safety of our Lord and Savior.  Before you know it, God will be calling us home to heaven!

Let me offer you some relief:

I want to reiterate this once again:  YOU are special to God!  He values you no matter what (or how many) mistakes you made.  He loves you so much, he sacrificed his only Son in order to win you back from the clutches of Satan!  There is no sin he won’t forgive.   

So don’t let anyone tell you that you have no value or that you are worthless; those are the lies of your enemy.  Enter into the courts of the Lord and allow him to reveal to you just how much he cares!      

Let me offer you some strength:

Absalom seemed to have everything the world offered.  He was young, handsome, rich and well connected.  He had the support of many people.  And for a while, it looked like he had the upper hand.  But he could not take the throne of his father, because God had reserved that just for David.    

God also has blessings reserved for you.  No one can take them from you, unless you give up and allow that to happen.  So stand strong and claim the promises that God has placed within your heart!