2005-05-01 - The Beginning of Wisdom
Psalm 4, Part 3
David tells them God has sent apart, sanctified, the godly. They may cry to their gods, that is, have their confidence in things other than the Lord. But they wouldn't receive a response. In contrast, David knew the Lord would hear him, for his trust was in the One True God. God is the one who chooses the godly and rejects those who reject Him. David challenged the people to be aware of the presence of God, to stand before Him with fear and trembling.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).
He called them to turn from the direction they were going. This call is the same as later given by John and Jesus: The call to repent. They should have examined their hearts in order to recognize how far they had moved from the Lord. They needed to move from a position of rejection to acceptance of Him. This repentance needed to be demonstrated by the offering of "right sacrifices." Where there had once been sacrifice to idols, now there must be sacrifices to God.
Verses 6-8: It becomes clear David had moved from distress to peace. The ungodly don't look to anyone to meet their needs, but in contrast, David knew God looks upon him and gives him peace and joy. The unrighteous cry out for someone to fill their needs, but their needs can never be met, because they have rejected the only true need, the need for God.
Where the ungodly received a type of joy from material prosperity, David received true joy and peace, through obedience to God. Adam Clarke said regarding man's demand for good. "There are multitudes who say, 'Who will shew us good Man wants good ; he hates evil as evil, because he has pain, suffering, and death through it. And he wishes to find that supreme good which will content his heart, and save him from evil. But men mistake this good. They look for a good that is to gratify their passions ; they have no notion of any happiness that does not come to them through the medium of their senses . Therefore they reject spiritual good , and they reject the supreme God, by whom alone all the powers of the soul of man can be gratified." - Adam Clarke .
Where David had been in distress, unable to sleep, he had found relief and was able to lie down. He was able to find peaceful sleep.
How do you spell relief? T-R-U-S-T !
Application: No matter what the problem, the circumstances, the distress, one can find comfort and peace by trust in the Lord.
"In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:4).
The Unbeliever: An application of this passage requires that we identify which category of men we fall into, for this affects the very nature of our distress. The unbeliever is suffering from the distress of foolishness. He looks everywhere, but to God to find relief from the pain and emptiness of life. As we look around, we can see that most of the activity of life is focused on either finding purpose separate from God, or denying that there is any purpose at all.
Mankind is expending phenomenal amounts of energy, running around fighting against the reality of a God who is personal and interacts with men in the real world. The unbeliever often doesn't even understand He is in distress. He isn't aware there is purpose to life other than wealth, power, success and personal pleasure or maybe just survival.
The more one has, the less it means and the greater the battle to continue to find satisfaction. Why do you think there are some many substance abusers. As one psychologist stated: "The only way to get through life is by the use of drugs or alcohol." And I suspect that He's correct, that is if you leave the Lord out of the picture.
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?