Who will show us something good?

April 28, 2017

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 4:5)

In this Psalm King David has insomnia because he is doing the expedient thing rather than what is right. He’s doing this because if he does the right thing he cannot see how he can possibly survive. Since he is a man of deep spiritual integrity this keeps him awake all night. In the middle of the night, he resolves in his heart that he is going to make whatever sacrifices he must make to do what is right and then trust the Lord for his survival. This decision changes his emotional anxiety and insomnia to peace and peaceful sleep.

His motivation is the many people asking: “Who will show us something good?” In other words, these people are looking for someone who will do what is right even if it costs everything they have to do right.

Psalm 4 begins with a prayer that is addressed to the God Who relieves us when we are in distress. If you want to know what distress is just drop the first two letters of the word and you know that this Psalm is all about being relieved from our (di)-stress.

If you are a spiritually oriented person and you’re not doing what is right because you cannot see how you can survive if you do, are you willing to resolve making whatever sacrifices you must to do what is right – and then trust God for the outcome?

Dick Woodward, 23 April 2010


Adversity or Atrophy

October 15, 2013

“…  Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress…”  (Psalm 4:1 KJV)

Just about every emotional challenge we experience today was faced by the psalmist many years ago.  If we will observe what he did when he struggled, and receive from God the grace to respond as the hymn writer responded, we can often overcome our emotional challenges.

In Psalm 4 the psalmist faces the emotional challenge of distress.  If you drop the first two letters, the word becomes stress.  We all have stress.  If we do not have stress we atrophy.  I have not put stress on my legs for 30 years.  Consequently, my legs are the size of your arms. “If you don’t use it you lose it” is the way the physical therapists describe atrophy.

Our loving Father God knows that what is true for our bodies is also true in our spiritual life. God is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually.  If we have no spiritual stress we will experience spiritual atrophy.  He therefore will not only permit, but direct into our lives any stress that will grow us as He gives us the grace to cope with that stress.

God tells us through the prophet Isaiah: “I create calamity” (Isaiah 45:7).  Many of us can trust God for the good things that comfort and sustain us.  But do we have the faith and the knowledge of God to see Him in the challenges that make the difference for us between spiritual growth and atrophy?

The Greek compound word hupomone, translated as “perseverance” in our English Bibles, literally means “to abide under.”  To apply hupomone, we should ask God for the grace to abide under stress, grow spiritually, and not atrophy.


A Do Right Prescription

March 2, 2012

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us any good?’”  (Psalm 4:5)

David cannot sleep.  He is uptight and anxious.  From the context of the psalm we know he cannot sleep because he is under great stress.  He decides to meditate within his own heart and be still.  (He has a little “board meeting” with himself in the middle of the night).  If he does the right thing, he believes he cannot survive.  He is therefore thinking about doing the expedient thing.  But since he is a man of great spiritual integrity he finds himself awake and uptight.

As a result of his meditation he resolves his dilemma.  He makes the decision that he is going to make whatever sacrifices he has to make to do what is right and then trust the Lord for his survival.  He knows there are many people who are looking for someone who will do what is right even though it costs them everything to do right.

Have you ever found yourself awake, uptight and stressed out in the middle of the night because you are in a crisis?  If you do what you believe God wants you to do you don’t see how you can survive.  But your spiritual integrity won’t let you sleep if you don’t do what you believe God wants you to do.  David models here a prescription for resolving that kind of dilemma.

His prescription is simply to do right.  Whatever it costs you, do right and trust God for the consequences.  Many people will be blessed, God will be glorified, you will have great peace, and get some sleep.