Psalm 4

I want to invite you to Psalm chapter 3, or chapter 4, excuse me, is where we’re going to be this morning. Psalm chapter 4. As we conclude our series on the book of Psalms, we’re taking a look at the Psalms. We’ve called this The Greatest Hits Series, because the Psalms were 150 chapters in the book, all songs for Israel, prayers and songs for Israel in which they worshiped the Lord through these psalms. We’re taking a look at their greatest hits, the songs they would use to sing and rejoice before the Lord when they would gather together. Different moments required different psalms being read in Israel’s day and history. There was psalms for anointing kings we’ve looked at. There are psalms for holidays.

There are psalms for lament. There are psalms with wisdom, all sorts of psalms intended to inspire our hearts to worship. Love the Psalms. It shows us really how to worship God in the mess, that our lives God knows are not pristine. They are not perfect. But what God wants is our hearts. And in that there are times of rejoicing, there are times of struggle and the Psalms show your heart how to connect to God, which is why I think this book becomes so important for us as a body of believers. Can I tell you guys this morning, man I love this church. I love, not the building, but the people. I love you guys. And I want to run life with you for the glory of God in this valley.

“Love you too pastor.”

Oh, thank you Kara. Kara gets a special treat at some point today. I love what Jesus is doing here and I love to think of the possibilities what God can continue to do in us as we give our lives to him. But I want you to know the sometimes it’s not always easy, even between us it’s not always easy, but how we choose to respond in that is so important. The first two Psalms, what we’ve seen in that and the beauty of that, the first couple of Psalms God shares with us the truth of who he is. He lays the foundation. I hope in looking at this together you have come to love the first couple of the Psalms that we’ve examined. I love these first two Psalms. It lays for us a foundation of a life of a believer being fruitful in the Lord. And he describes you as a tree that your leaves never fade, always bearing fruit. It is incredible portion of Scripture.

And then he gets into Psalm chapter two and he talks about the kingship of God over our lives, what it means to give your heart to the Lord. If you really want to be used by God it requires you to die to self to live to him. There comes a place in your heart where you trust that what God wants to do in you and through you is better that what you can fabricate in your own life. In fact, it’s an impossibility out of your own life. You have got to die to yourself, and that’s exactly what Jesus said in the Psalms. He came to give his life so that you could die to yourself and live to him. And what God has for your life is far greater than anything that you can fabricate for yourself. Those first couple of psalms give us that truth. But then there comes the part where you live it out. And that’s not always easy. In fact Psalm chapter three we looked at last week, Psalm chapter four, there are psalms that address the same topic, relational conflict.

And you may ask the question, why do we need to do two psalms to do that? Why can’t we just have one psalm to talk about relational conflict? Well it’s simply for this reason. To know the truth is one thing, but to live it out is a whole different ballgame. It’s not also easy to let your mind connect to why your heart wants to do. Does that make sense? You can understand things intellectually in your mind but sometimes your heart wanes. And living that out in the midst of opposition is not an easy … It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not an easy thing to do. Relational conflict happens. And God calls you to be a light for him in this world, but the place he calls you to be a light is before people. And when you encounter people sometimes they’re a great blessing in ministering to people, and sometimes there’s adversity, and what you do there matters.

And so David writes Psalm chapter three and chapter four to really encouraging us, like we look in Psalm chapter two, Jesus is king. Then you get to three and four and it’s like, now this is how you live it out in chapter three. And this is how you live it out again in chapter four, because our heart needs reminded and encouraged daily to what it looks like to live that out in our lives. Every soul matters to God. And he calls us to make a difference in the lives of others by being a light used for his glory. God calls us to be a people not to live selfishly but to live selflessly. And sometimes we say as a church, we don’t measure our success by our seating capacity, though we’re glad you’re here, but by our sending capacity. It’s what God does in us and surrendering to him it’s what God then continues to do through us, to be a light in this world.

Blessing others is a great joy in ministry, but unfortunately relationships can also bring challenges. Relationships bring hurt. Ever found that relationship that turned sour and you just walk away feeling defeated, maybe even like a failure. If I were to encourage you, think for a moment of Jesus’ own ministry. I read this even this more morning in my devotions in John chapter 6, Jesus was even saying this. He identifies for the disciples, how many disciples that he picked. How many disciples Jesus have? Twelve, right? But then Jesus goes on to say, one of them betrays him. And how many disciples did Jesus end his ministry with? Eleven. Even Jesus faced hardship.

Jesus’ ministry decreased while he was on the earth. You think about the apostle Paul. In his life he travels with many people but in reading the book of II Timothy at the very end, the last letter Paul writes, II Timothy. And the last chapter he starts to talk about people. And you know what he says at the end of II Timothy? He’s alone. Gave his life for the Lord and he feels alone. He writes II Timothy telling Timothy to come visit him because he’s alone. This is the last letter he writes before his head’s cut off for the Lord. And he he even talks about in verse ten of chapter four, a guy named Demas who abandoned him because he loves the world rather than the Lord and he went off to Thessalonica leaving Paul all alone.

And can I tell you, ask you, let me ask you, not tell you. Did Jesus and Paul fail? Guys sometimes we have to be careful in how we measure success. Success in ministry isn’t about avoiding conflict. Success in ministry is determined by what you choose to do when conflict arises. In fact I would say it’s in those moments that God could be most glorified in your life because anybody can love when it’s easy to love. But it’s God’s people that learn to love through the adversity, because people matter. And because Jesus matters to us and people matter to Jesus, we care about the people that Jesus cares about, which God cares about every soul. And how we choose to walk in that conflict says in our lives whether we’re really surrendered to God and how we want to other honor him or we live for our own glory.

And I know, I know in saying that it can be hard. But what David is doing in these Psalms is to help us understand in the midst of his own pain he’s using this opportunity through the conflict he’s going through to teach us how to walk in that because in the midst of darkness God’s light shines even brighter. And what you do in those moments are important. In fact I would say it’s most important. See, by writing these psalms, Psalm chapter three and chapter four, both of them dealing with the same topic, you think about in Israel’s day they would worship, both in the morning and the evening. So they would take this psalm, chapter three likely, read it in the morning, chapter four likely, read it in the evening and focus on the thought that’s behind these chapters because God knows relationships are difficult for us.

Sometimes there’s the way we want to respond and then there’s the way God calls us to respond. Two psalms on the same topic back to back indicates to us that to move through relational wounds in our life, it takes time. And to do that in a way that’s godly we really need the Lord, so you need two psalms to focus on it. But it takes time to process through that. In fact, the deeper the friendship, the deeper the wounds we feel when things don’t pan out. In fact if I wanted to use just in the life of David here as he’s writing this psalm, what it means for him and writing these words to encourage you in your own life in the conflict. David is going through a moment where his own son is standing against him. You remember the story in II Samuel chapter 15. Just a couple chapters previous to this David had a public fall before people.

He sinned with Bathsheba. He repents, God restores him. Not good enough for Absalom. And so what’s Absalom do in chapter 15? He goes before where the king dwells and he turns the hearts of Israel away from King David and toward him, “I’m a better king.” And he seeks to win the hearts of people. In fact, in describing II Samuel 15 it says this, “Then a messenger came to David saying, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.’ David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ‘Arise and let us flee for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and stirke the city with the edge of the sword.'” David sees the urgency of this moment. Not only is his life being ripped at and pulled by seeing his own son betray him, but he’s now concerned for the people that are loyal to him.

And David in these moments are tucking, telling run for the safety of his people. Relational conflict hurts. And the deeper the friendship the deeper the wounds. And so when you read into Psalm chapter four, David opens up in these first couple of verses, reflecting on what’s happening in his own life because of the pain in his relationship with Absalom. Look at these first few verses. It says to God, “Answer me when I call.” You’ve been there right? That pain. I mean, even if you’re wrong. “God there’s nothing that can … I don’t even have the faith to see how you can traverse the with me or heal this moment or find reconciliation in relationships but what I know right now God is I need you to answer when I call. Oh God of my righteousness.” I love that label. He’s saying rather than fight in defense of himself he’s letting God be his righteousness.

“God hear me. God, you be my justification. You have relieved me in my distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” What David is saying is, “God, I’ve walked with you in life and I’ve seen how you’ve answered in the distress that I’ve faced. So again God I’m asking please be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” And verse two, “O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach. How long will you love what is worthless and aim and deception. Selah. Selah.” What David is saying in that last word is, “I’m going to rest here for a moment.” The weightiness of this thought. David is recognizing in verse two the results of Absalom as a leader. He’s seeing how the leadership of Absalom has now turned hearts of Israelites against him. And he asks the question, “How long will they love what is worthless and aim at this deception.”

You think about leadership, it’s never a good thing when a people group have a bad leader to follow. You think even in Israel’s history, after David comes the civil war and the tribes split. There’s never a godly king to lead Israel and Israel never pursues godliness. It reminds me of the thought that in organizations they’re only as healthy as the leaders that lead them. It’s why the Bible encourages us, even in the church, when Paul goes around and plants church, he calls the church to appoint elders to lead the church and he gives these couple of qualifications for elders. In chapter three verse two, “There are to be above reproach.” That phrase above approach becomes the overarching statement for all of leadership appointed within the church, meaning while all of the other qualities are important this person needs to be above approach in his testimony before the believing and unbelieving world.

Those that don’t follow Jesus and those that follow Jesus, the people that lead have a good testimony in the lives of people around them. They may not agree with what they follow but they know that that person cares about them, right. They’re above reproach. And then it says in verse six that they’re not new convert, meaning they need to demonstrate a life that follows God that’s been proven in adversity and comes out following the Lord. Now when you look at a psalm like this, it’s easy to see the life of Absalom and think, “Man, what an enemy. There’s the good guy David, and there’s the enemy Absalom.” And hiss at Absalom. “Boo. Yay David,” right. Because I want us to remember, it’s easy to become Absalom. It’s easy to be an Absalom. I mean you think about Absalom’s justifications in these moments. If we talked to Absalom he could’ve rationalized this, right.

I said this with you a little bit last week, that Absalom, he could’ve said, “You know, my father, he fell before everyone. Look at him, he’s a disgrace. He’s not a good leader. He’s proven himself not trustworthy. And therefore, I’m better.” That doesn’t demonstrate the character that’s better, by the way he goes about things. But he then pursues to win the hearts of people. And he justifies his action by looking at the recent calamity of his father. Guys, it’s easy to be an Absalom. Old Testament we call them Absaloms. In the New Testament we call them wolves. Jesus referred to them as wolves in Matthew chapter 27 and Matthew chapter 10. He describes the wolves as wolves in sheep’s clothing. And we said this about a wolf, look, a wolf never thinks they’re a wolf. People do not go around be like, “Look, I am a toxic person to be around. I am a wolf. Don’t get near me.” That’s not how people respond. People always feel justified in the way they react to the things that happen to them.

I can justify. Absalom can justify. I can get to a bad place because of things happen to me and I can justify my behavior. “Well they did this therefore I can do this.” But no one walks around the world saying, “Look, I’m a wolf.” Wolves never see themselves as wolves. They see themselves as misunderstood sheep. If you could just see it from my point of view, right. The thing about a wolf, wolves are more concerned with what people think of them than of Jesus. And this is why it’s easy for us to become an Absalom. If in your life right now you’re more concerned about what people think about you than of Jesus, when difficulty comes against you, you’re going to feel justified to respond like Absalom and win the hearts of people rather than be concerned with what God wants in the moment. It’s easy. It’s easy to get there.

But David is showing us in these psalms why these psalms are so important for our lives because just to know the truth is one thing but to live it out, to live it out takes this faith and seeing what God desires is greater than what you can do for yourself and trusting in that, knowing that when we experience relationships in this world there comes conflict with that. And what you do in that conflict matters. And so when you look at these psalms, Psalm chapter three, chapter four, they start very similar. Chapter three, first couple of verses David explains his position, the hardship he’s facing, getting us to understand the path that he’s walking. In chapter four he starts the same way, “Look, this is where I’m at God,” calling out in distress, looking at the people who are against me and this type of experience can provoke you to react, right.

But here’s where the difference comes in chapter three and chapter four. This is what he says in chapter three. He says, “But you O Lord are a shield about me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head.” So he’s contrasting these two positions right now. He’s being provoked because of what’s happened. He could stand up and defend his honor. He could stand up for himself as king, or there’s another path for which he’s called. He contrasts this with the idea of but. But you O Lord, you’re a shield about me. Now I’ve explained last week what this phrase means, but the concept is that it is a truth being proclaimed on the identity of God so this is why he can trust. What Psalm chapter three is is a truth to believe. But what Psalm chapter four becomes then is the path to which obey. Chapter three explains to us all through here the truth of who God is in light of the circumstances that we go through.

And then chapter four becomes the answer of how do we know we’re living in light of that God because of the conflict we’ve gone through. What does it mean to follow God in adversity, especially in relational adversity? And so David begins to outline in chapter four what that would look like starting in verse four. These are the actions of our lives. A truth to believe always leads to a path to obey. In fact what you truly believe you will obey. Truth to believe leads to a path to obey. Now when we talk about that in terms of Christianity, look, I don’t want to overcomplicate that. Sometimes you go into religious circles and they start talking about obedience and they list all these rules. In Christianity it’s very simplistic. Love God. Love others. Jesus created you as a relational being with all that you are Jesus said greatest commandments, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And can I tell you, if that isn’t our heart, we will never love people the way God calls us to love people.

Love God. Love people. If there’s a truth to believe there is a path to obey. And so in chapter four it becomes a reflection of what that looks like to live in light of this God who is our shield. And so this is what he says in verse three, “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for himself.” “But know this,” he’s saying, “You’re feeling the pressure by circumstances. It’s provoking you. But there is an alternative and there is something greater that God wants to do and do you trust this?” This is a step of faith. And I would say in our lives, if there’s one thing to be thankful for in the adversity that we face in living out the truth that we believe, is it shows us if we really believe it. Or at least it demonstrates who far our faith will go. In fact, James opens up his book in James chapter one that way.

Now I’ll tell you this, when you think about adversity in this world and what I just told you, I’m not telling you to leave here and find a bunch of trouble to get it to find out really where your faith rests. I’m not telling you that at all, okay. Don’t go creating conflict or running right into conflict just to demonstrate where your faith rests. Don’t do that. We’re not about pursuing conflict for the sake of pursuing conflict. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about honoring god in all things and when conflict arises doing the same thing. We don’t want to be any different, Jesus in all things. But James says this. In James chapter one he says this, “Consider it all joy my brother when you endure various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect work.”

And what James is recognizing this is when trouble comes, like we’re not running after trouble, but when trouble comes the one thing that we have to be thankful for in the midst of trouble is it demonstrates to our own life where our own heart is truly resting. In Christ or not. Your glory or his. React or respond. So David is saying, “Look. I could’ve … I’m the king. I could’ve turned around with the army that I had left and we could’ve just gone to battle right then and there. But the Lord has set apart the godly man for himself. How should a godly individual respond to relational conflict? I’ll say this, in this psalm it really starts on one thought and it stays on that thought and it just builds that thought, but this is where it begins. It starts with this idea. Align your heart upward before you respond outward. Now that just makes a lot of common sense, doesn’t it. Align your heart upward before you respond outward.

You can read that and be like, “Yeah, that makes sense,” but I want to tell us, just remind us, and you know this, that when difficult things happen in relationship, that is not your knee jerk reaction. You know why? Because oftentimes when we’re offended we’re the most important person to us. And you know what we want to do? Put that person in their place, but let them know how important I am. And what we end up doing is we end up modifying their behavior right, either in anger or despair or manipulation, we come into that room like a rage. “I’m going to tell you something.” And then … Conflict begins. And what happens? Our lives become distanced from their heart. The very ministry that God called us to in the pursuit of people we have now moved ourselves away from. And the reason we start with aligning our God rather than simply starting with the relationship before us is that what God wants to do in that moment is greater than anything we can fabricate ourselves.

There’s a faith moment here. And David starts this psalm by recognizing that, “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for himself.” There is a different path. God calls me on in these moments from what I’m trusting in. And if I depend on me rather than God, things can get nasty because what I want to do is modify their behavior to let them know that how great I am. But what Jesus wants to make known is how great he is. And when my eyes are on me my eyes are not on the Lord. And so he’s recognizing in this psalm where his own heart, David’s own heart has gone so that we can walk with him knowing that our lives are going to … It’s going to face adversity. But he says this in verse three, “I have been set apart for the Lord.” This idea, this reflection is that God has a different plan.

And when God has set me apart, God is completely aware of where I am. And I would rather live in the middle of his will, though conflict be around me, than take it up and live on my own because when I do that I create relational problem on top of the conflict that’s already arise. The question is, do you believe it? In fact, he goes on and says this. “The Lord hears when I call.” When you read the psalms, and we’ve said this a few times, but remember the psalms are in parallel form, which means that the first line of a verse tends to parallel the second line of the verse. And if you want a better idea of what the first line is saying, just read the second thought. Sometimes it’s antithetical and sometimes it enhances what the first thought is. And so just let me ask you the question or for me inwardly. Am I really giving my heart before the Lord knowing that he has set me apart?

I think we can see the answer here. “The Lord hears me when I call.” The answer is, am I praying? Do I genuinely seek God in that conflict? The way to know if your heart is with the Lord in the midst of the conflict that you’re facing is demonstrated by how you seek God in prayer through the conflict that you go through. I mean you have the opportunity to bend the ear of the king, and if you desire what the king wills in this world then you’ll come before the king in the midst of the adversity that you face. And you understand that God has set you apart. Look what it says. “He has set apart the godly for himself.” Not my will, but his will. So when I come before the king … Sometimes when we talk about prayer I think that we sometimes can go to prayer in an ungodly way. I think that God cares about where you are. I think that’s fine to pray that before God. But sometimes we only use prayer for that reason.

We come to God like he’s here to serve us as if we’re the king, he’s the puppet and the only time I pray is when I want something. So I just go to him and I tell him what I want and I look for him to do that. But what he’s saying rather is that when God set you apart, you get to bend the ear of the king, but what God desires to do is what he has planned for himself with you. Rest assured, what God desires for your life is better than anything you can create for yourself. And so when we’re in team with the will of that king, our prayer becomes to seeks his face and his desire in those moments. And so we pray seeking God. In fact, I John 5:4 says it like this. “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” I like to think of prayer this way, that prayer is standing in the gap. Prayer is about recognizing the goodness of heaven and the struggle of earth, and that God has you in this place on this world to be a light for him.

And you bend the ear of the king to the needs of this world that you can see his glory made known, his will. And so the heart of the believer tuned into God in the midst of conflict, what he desires is before he seeks the relationship with the other person, he aligns his heart with the Lord before he seeks that relationship with other. And continuing that thought, he shows then how that progresses in the life of a believer. He says this in verse four he says, “Tremble and do not sin. Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are saying, ‘Who will show us any good.’ Lift up the light of your countenance upon us O Lord.” This idea of tremble, in the King Jame I think it’s translated a few ways. In fact the original language, this word can be translated all sorts of ways.

In the King James when this word’s translated it mostly is translated as the word moved or provoked. Sometimes it’s translated as revere or tremble. But what he’s recognizing is when conflict arises you are being provoked within you to respond in some way. You will revere something. You honor something. You’ll be provoked to reply in some way. It could be that relationship. That could your number one priority, for them to look good at you, or for you to please them. What God is saying here through David is that you’re going to be provoked. But rather than be provoked and sin, let your heart be provoked in him. And sometimes we don’t know how to respond. Sometimes we feel the urge to respond quickly. But rather than just react in the moment what he says in this verse is meditate in your heart upon your bed. Be still. Check the motive of your heart. It’s easy to become an Absalom.

God loves, or not God, excuse me. Satan loves disunity, but God is glorified when we fight for each other, not against each other. Meditate in your heart upon the king, upon how to honor him. Look, we know it’s not easy. Sometimes it may look like this, “God, I don’t even have the faith within me to see how this reconciliation can happen. But God, you’re bigger than that. And I know it can, it can. You know how? Because he’s reconciled his life with me and the darkness of my own sin. And if God can work that miracle transforming my life, it’s so much easier for him to just work in this conflict that I’m experiencing with someone else. I was in complete death, alienated from God, and we just have a tension in our relationship. And so meditating in your heart. So not only does it … We surrender to God but we continue to seek and refine our lives for the purity of what it means to pursue him.

And this is what he says the result in him. Verse five, “Offering the sacrifices of righteousness and trusting in the Lord.” That’s what you get at the end of the day. Like when your heart becomes Jesus and his life being made known in your life, when you wake up the next day you’re not lowering your head in shame, though someone else may have shown their rear end to you, you haven’t responded in that way. You didn’t throw mud in return. And so when it comes before worship before God, you lift up holy hands before him and sing, “God, just be glorified. You are my righteousness.” Now I know I your life and relationships, you’ve blown it more than once, right. So it’s good to know God always gives you grace. Man, what we want before the Lord is a pure heart in that worship, and so trusting in the Lord.

And then he says verse six, “Many are saying, ‘Who will show us any good?’ Lift up the light of your countenance upon us O Lord.” I love the honesty of this verse. What David is saying is, “God we don’t have it figured out, but that’s okay because you’re big enough to handle it.” It’s okay to question God. It’s okay to feel like you’re moving forward in the fog. In our lack of clarity God clearly sees. God moves things that we can’t understand. God reconciles in ways beyond our imagination. What he’s saying in this verse is, “God, they’re coming and they’re asking this question. They’re seeking good in these moments.” And he’s just calling on God to continue to be that source, the answer for them. And when you go through conflict, rather than just react it’s far better to meditate in your heart at night to see your heart right before the Lord.

And then just be honest with God. Continue to seek to revere him in the midst of the mess. Sometimes those things take time to work out. In fact, that’s why we said there are two psalms here, because it’s showing us relationships are important, and moving in those relationships sometimes it just takes time to reconcile and work things out, especially when you feel like trust has been broken or at least harmed. It takes time to build those things back and so just walking with the integrity of your character becomes a crucial piece in seeing that happen in your life. And then he goes on, verse seven, he says this crazy word. I would say this, let me just phrase it and I’m going to explain it. A godly individual aligns their heart with the Lord. The godly individual continues to seek how to revere the Lord though they may walk in that mystery.

And a godly individual working through this conflict looks towards a heavenly value system rather than an earthly value system. And in verse seven you see that, “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.” Now think about this if you’re David. I mean his own son wound him. And yet in these final verses he talks about gladness in his own heart. And then he goes and compares it to grain and new wine. I mean it’s like saying in our day, it’s the grain brings the money and the wine brings the party, right. So it’s like it’s Friday payday. It’s like that is celebration day. But he’s not just describing it as payday. He’s describing it as the payday with the biggest bonus you’ve ever received in your life. It’s abounding. Like I’m pretty sure if there’s ever a time to be happy I could think about being happier.

And then he’s comparing it to, “Oh, and I’m more glad than that.” Are you really? How does one get to a place like that? Were in the midst of this conflict. Your heart is abounding in gladness more than the payday where you get the great bonus. This verse reminds me a lot of a similar verse in Act chapter five. Acts chapter five the apostles are going forth proclaiming Christ. They’ve been told not to do this. They’ve been thrown in jail because of this. And they say to the leadership in Israel at this time that it’s better we obey God than man. They go out and they continue to proclaim the Lord. And now they’re brought before the leaders of Israel. And they’re actually discussing killing them. And one of the leaders stands up and says, “We probably shouldn’t kil them just in case they might be right.” And this is what they concluded in verse 40, they say this.

“After calling the apostles in they flogged them, and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and then released them. So they went on their way, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for his name. That’s like a double take verse there for a minute, isn’t it? Like you got beat and you are happy. Could you imagine if you were in that circumstance and you just left your beating and now you come before your pile of friends. And what’s the first thing going to be out of your mouth? Is it going to be, “Yippee,” or is it going to be, “Woe is me.” I mean I could say, “Look at me, anybody got some rubbing alcohol? Look at the wound.” But these guys are rejoicing. Why in the world are they rejoicing? Is this really a moment to be rejoicing over? What would they do that?

I think it’s the same reason David’s rejoicing in verse seven. And that they’d be reoriented in their value system. So what’s happening in verse seven of Psalm 4 is the individuals that are described here are just looking for the next great thing in life. Whatever they can do to get ahead, whatever they can do to make a buck, whatever they can do to look better than the Joneses beside them. That’s what their pursuit is for their life. But David has an entirely different value system in his life because he’s not thinking about earthly kingdom and temporary pleasure, he’s thinking about eternal kingdom and eternal pleasure before his king. David and the apostles both rejoiced because this is what the moment did for them. When facing shame, when facing loss of relationship, loss of possession, jail, and even the thought of death, what do they choose? They choose Jesus.

They choose to honor the life before … Excuse me, honor the Lord before their life. And so for them they leave rejoicing because they know in the moment when conflict arise and the pressure came against them, what was demonstrated in love above all is their love for God beyond anything this world could offer. They had been pressed as far as the soul could be pressed to walk in the flesh. And they choose Jesus. What a beautiful moment that is for the Lord’s people. You think about your own life when you face conflict. Other people may not know what your heart chooses in those moments, but God does. And you may not be written about the way the apostles are written about, but God sees you. And if your life is lived for an audience of one, no greater joy should come within your soul than to stand for him above anything else this world can throw at you.

And the walk and the thought that his righteousness over me is more important than the wine and the grain that this world has to offer. And in that their soul rejoices. And then verse eight it ends like this. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone O Lord make me to dwell in safety.” At the end of the day, what does their soul get? Peace. Look, Psalm three and Psalm four in talking about relational conflict doesn’t tell you how to manipulate the heart of the individual that you disagree with. In fact, that’s not possible in a healthy way. Rather what it does tell you is how to walk in a way that keeps your head held high, that at the end of the day though other people may act in a way that doesn’t honor God, your soul rests in peace because to you Jesus is everything.

When you look at Psalm chapter four verse seven and Psalm chapter four verse eight, I think we can very plainly ask and say yes to this, but doesn’t your soul long for joy and peace? To give your life before the Lord. Success guys, isn’t about avoiding conflict. It’s about how you choose to respond when conflict arises. That conflict demonstrates where your heart really rests. I know we’re not perfect, and God gives us grace. What God calls us to in this world, our lives on this path, and I think these psalms exist because David knows we want to react in flesh, and we do react in flesh. But God is for us. God is for us and so when you go through conflict, striving to see Christ honored, dying to self and letting Jesus be your shield, rather than reacting in the flesh, responding by aligning your heart with God, revering him and meditating your heart at night, and in so doing, you worship purely and bless others.

And in the end you can rejoice knowing that the value in your hart is for God alone. And therefore your soul finds peace in him. It’s one thing to know truth. It’s something different to obey it, because what you truly believe you will obey. We’re on a journey together and it’s messy. The only way that God’s called us to live it successfully begins with dying to self and trusting in him. Whether it begins at this very moment when you recognize what Jesus has done for you by dying on the cross or you’ve walked with Jesus all of your life, every day, to see the success that’s described in this psalm requires you to lay your soul down, because when you fight for you, it destroys relationships. But when you allow God to fight for you, it builds up the body of Christ, the Lord is glorified and you find joy and peace for your soul.

Psalm 3