Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:4)
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
Look at the scriptures above. Read the first slowly and let it take you to that silent place where God calls you to receive Him. Then use the second scripture to bring deeper meaning to the underlined portion of the first scripture. Now sit with the first passage again.
When God allows us to struggle through trials we have two options: run to the comforts of this world or run to everlasting comfort in Him. God is our firm foundation and our refuge. Difficult moments are times when He calls us into deeper relationship with our Father, our Creator. Turning to God is described in detail in the passage above. It doesn’t have to be taken literally but let’s look at what it describes.
Tremble (in your anger) do not sin (turn toward things other than God (idolatry)). Trembling could be in fear or anger, both draw us out of comfort. We then have a choice of where we can find peace in the storm. We can choose between the Creator and His creation. The eternal or the temporal. God desires a relationship that grows deeper as our spirits mature. The best way to grow in relationship is through the difficult times where we have to rely on God’s provision and comfort to carry us through.
When you are on your bed (alone and away from distraction) search your heart (for what God is looking to teach you in this turmoil) and be silent (so that you may hear the still small voice of God). The world and its business look to captivate our attention and draw us away from the stillness we need with God. Seek the quietness and seclusion you require to draw close to God and avoid distraction. Search your heart, in openness and honesty to see where the Lord is missing in your life or situation. Where do you need in insert His power and rely less on your own? Look for the lesson God has for you. He loves you too much to let you remain idle. Seek and find what the Lord has for you. Then the most difficult part, be silent so that His voice can be heard, and the presence of His Spirit can work in your heart. Ask for understanding and be still to receive what God chooses to reveal to you.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous (humble spirit of thanksgiving) and trust in the LORD. Our sacrifice to God is submission, and a willingness to follow God’s will over our own as they become the same. Give thanks that God loves you enough to correct and lead you. Be thankful that as His chosen you are able to hear His calling and turn to the shelter of His love and faithfulness. Then trust that God is fighting battles that you cannot fight. We can rest assured that battles fought by God are fought to completeness. He will bring about His will which far surpasses our dreams. Turn to God and seek the fellowship described in Psalm 4:4. See the loving relationship and guidance the Father has for you.
Many times, in the reading of the Psalms, there is a distance between our hearts and the heart of the psalmists. We read these words where someone is in anguish over their persecution. They have enemies that are actually pursuing and attacking them. It is rare in our modern lives to have the same kinds of situations occurring around us that drove the words of the Psalms to be penned. I see where this can cause a separation in what the message has the ability to convey to us.
What if we had an enemy that was pursuing us day and night with the intention to defeat and kill us? Their sole motive was to take all that what was given to us by God. They existed to destroy a relationship with God that leads to sanctification. They found pleasure in our misery, depression, hopelessness, defeat, etc. They were willing to battle us until we turned away from God and too the comforts of the world. That enemy exists! That enemy is the devil and his army of fallen angels. We can read the Psalms and know that every word of desperation would be the crying out of our hearts if the deceiver were to make himself as clear as a physical enemy. Our biggest battle is with the spiritual realm and not the earthly realm that seeks to hold our attention. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) The deceiver is constantly looking for a foot hold in which to attack the hedge of protection God places around those who follow Him. The devil himself acknowledges this hedge when he complains of God’s protection of Job. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. (Job 1:10)
Don’t wait until the spiritual battle is manifest in the flesh. Read the Psalms and know the power of God against an enemy that attacks you in your mind and in ways you can’t always see immediately. Let your relationship grow with God as well as His hedge of protection from your enemy. Let the Psalms draw you closer to the nature of your Protector, Shelter, Sustainer, Rock, and Fortress against all enemies. Draw close to the hope found in the Psalms. Draw close to hope found in God.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. (Psalm 73:16-17)
This Psalm describes the trouble many of us have when we see the non-believers walking in “happiness”, “security”, “health”, “wealth”, etc. The Bible describe throughout its pages how worldly prosperity will lead to destruction. The structure of worldly prosperity is built on a foundation that is falling apart. There is no real security in a world that is deteriorating and will ultimately be destroyed. As believers, we are called to store our treasure in the eternity of Heaven. When we build wealth and other earthly attachment they pull us away from a God focus. We drift into self-reliance and self-security, neither of which can be trusted. Trusting in ourselves and the security of this world is trust in fallenness, in sin, and in darkness. When we go into the sanctuary of God, as the psalmist says, we allow God to give us His divine provision which is more than we need or deserve. We also can glorify God for and with His provision which let our focus stay on God and our relationship deepen with the God of eternity. The more secure we become with the provision of God and His work in our lives the more we can see the artificial confidence people have in worldly pleasure. As the psalmist says: we can discern their end. We can see how thin the ice is below their confidence. We can see how easily their security can be shaken and how truly fragile their earthly prosperity is. Obey the call of your Lord to be not of this world and allow His grace to fill you with joy, peace, purpose and love. Don’t be distracted by the “prosperity” of the lost. Their gain apart from God will deteriorate and fall to dust. Your trust and hope in God will earn you a relationship that will prosper you here and last into eternity.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22)
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver… He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, all is gone. (Job 27:16-17,19)