Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Christy and I want to thank you for your prayers for Hudson. His surgery went well; and we even got to come home today! Hudson was a brave little trooper – although he was a tad upset when he woke up from his anesthesia (that’s a little bit of an understatement :). We are very thankful for you and thankful to the Lord for such a wonderful church body. Have a great rest of the week, and we look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day. Today’s devotional is a brief reflection from Psalm 4 on how David responds to hardship and burdens in his life. May it challenge and encourage us all!
“A Distressed Man”
Psalm 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!”
In Psalm 4 we meet a man who is in distress. While we don’t know the exact circumstances, we do know that David is writing with a troubled heart. In v. 1, he says that he is in ‘distress.’ In v. 2, he states that his ‘honor is being turned to shame,’ and intimates that he is being slandered. So regardless of the specific occasion of his writing, David is no doubt weighed down by burdens as he sits to pen this psalm. And the question I want to think about for a moment is, “How does he respond to these burdens of life?” And this question is one that we should pose to our own hearts, “How do we respond when weighed down by burdens?
I want to suggest that we find in this psalm at least three ways that David responded to his troubling circumstances: first, he responded with confident prayer, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness (v. 1a).” David immediately turns to the Lord, and not to man; he turns to the creator, and not to the creature. Note his persistence in v. 1b, “Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” Also, we should see David’s confidence that God will indeed hear his prayer; and such confidence is rooted in David’s identity as one set apart to the Lord. In other words, David knows that he belongs to God; therefore, he knows that God will hear him: v. 3, “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.”
Second, David responds with quiet reflection, “Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent (v. 4).” The proper response is to quietly and patiently wait upon the Lord. It is to see God’s hand of providence in all his ways. It is to ask the question, “What would the Lord have me learn in this situation … How is God growing me through this situation … Have I turned to Him first and foremost, or have I turned away from him in bitterness ….?” We should take such opportunities to reflect on God’s character and his sovereign goodness over our lives.
And third and last, David responds with faithful worship, “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord (v. 5).” The idea of offering sacrifices contains the broader idea of worship. David is exhorting the godly unto right worship – they should enter into the presence of God, worship God, and put their trust in God. In fact, worship is one of the ways that God strengthens us in our faith – as we worship him, he builds us up in the faith.
Life is filled with uncertainty, disappointment, and distress. May we learn from a man who not only lived such a life, but also did so with a deep and firm trust in the Lord. Let us learn from David to respond to life’s ups and downs with prayer, reflection, and worship.
RobertFrom the Pastor’s Desk