Psalm 4:1-8                          Thank God for This Also                           11/13/2016   ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.      O God of My Righteousness (Psalm 4:1, Eph 5:25-27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      The Lord Hath Set Apart for Himself (Psalm 4:3-4, Rom 3:10, John 6:44, Prov 9:10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      Who Will Show Us Any Good? (Psalm 4:6, 115:17-18, 2Cor 5:8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of 2nd Samuel 12:10 (2X). We have here the story of:

You all have heard that Absalom was the son of king David, and that Absalom rebelled against his father David, and that Absalom desired to take the kingdom away from David, by force. If we ask the opinion of wise men today, they would say that Absalom was raised in a dysfunctional family, and that there was not enough bonding between David and Absalom in his early childhood, and that Absalom was the victim of neglect because his father was too busy with reigning over the kingdom, and so on and so on. Today’s psychologists are quick to point to the parents as the source of the problem, and they treat rebellious children as being the victims of their parent’s behavior. But did you know that this entire sordid event was caused by an earlier sordid event? David had committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife Bathsheba, and caused her to be pregnant. David tried to hide his sin by murdering her husband Uriah the Hittite and by marrying Bathsheba. But God was very displeased with David’s sin. David tried to hide his sin, but God recorded this sordid affair in the Bible so that it became known to people all over the world, wherever the Bible was read. And God sent the prophet Nathan to David to let him know the displeasure of God with David’s sin. Even though David was a saved man, David did not get away with this sin. God stated the consequences of David’s sin, here in 2Sam 12:10,

2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

2Sa 12:11  Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

2Sam 12:12  For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Here is the consequence of David’s sin: “the sword shall never depart from thine house”. There would be trouble coming from his own household. Please turn to chapter 15 of this prophecy, 2Sam 15:10 (2X). To begin with, David had a son named Amnon. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. But Tamar’s brother Absalom was so enraged about this sin that he murdered his half-brother Amnon. Absalom fled out of the country, and Absalom was in exile 3 years. Then David forgave Absalom this murder, David embraced Absalom and Absalom was reinstated at the court in Jerusalem. Can a man hold a serpent to his bosom and not be bitten? Absolutely not! For many years Absalom conspired to take the kingdom of David away from him. Then the day came that Absalom rose up against his father David. And David remembered the words from God that Nathan spoke against him. We read in

2Sa 15:10  But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.

2Sa 15:11-12  And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.    And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

With Absalom went 200 chosen men out of Jerusalem, and Absalom brought them to Hebron, where many years before David was crowned king of Israel. Then Absalom also invited Ahithophel, the private counselor of David, to be on his side. So Ahithophel became one of the main conspirators against David. It was on this account that David wrote in Psalm 41:9 about Ahithophel in this way, “Yea, mine own familiar friend (Lit: “the man of my peace), in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up (Lit: “magnified”) his heel against me”. Literally this verse reads as follows, “Yea, the man of my peace, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has magnified his heel against me”. David had trusted Ahithophel, and David knew that Ahithophel had great wisdom when he counseled in military and strategic matters. And David prayed, in verse 31, that the counsel of Ahithophel might be perceived as foolishness, and God heard David’s prayer. Then we read in V 13,

2Sa 15:13 ¶ And there came a messenger to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom”.  

In other words, the message came to David that most of the nation of Israel was rallying behind Absalom, and wanted Absalom to be king in the place of his father David. Then David knew that the tide was turning against him, and David knew that, to spare Jerusalem, he had to flee from Absalom. But David also remembered God’s promise regarding his rulership over the kingdom of Israel. David never lost his faith and trust in God’s promises. Then we read in verse 14,

2Sam 15:14  And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.

Can you see, David’s concern was not for himself but for the people? David wanted to minimize the bloodshed in Jerusalem, for he knew them personally, and he loved them. 

2Sa 15:15  And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. {appoint: Heb. choose}

2Sa 15:16  And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. {after...: Heb. at his feet}

2Sa 15:17  And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.

2Sa 15:18  And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

The Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and the Gittites were Philistine tribes whom David collected around him as his special bodyguard. Let me try to make a long story short. David fled into the forest East of the Jordan River to a place called Mahanaim. There many others joined David’s army. There in the forest near Mahanaim was the final confrontation between David’s army and the army of Absalom. There near Mahanaim is where Absalom died while hanging on a tree, which was a sign to let us know that Absalom was already under the curse of God before he died. And also, there at Mahanaim David wrote Psalm #4. We must keep this in mind then, what the historical occasion was when David wrote this Psalm. This then was the historical setting for Psalm #4, which is a Psalm of Thanksgiving. And since we are celebrating the feast of Thanksgiving this week, I want to take the opportunity to preach on the giving of thanks. Therefore the sermon of today is titled, Thank God for This Also (2X). We must thank God that David’s army won the battle near Mahanaim. How could it have been otherwise? We must thank God that He has left us this heritage of Psalm 4. Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm #4. David wrote this Psalm before the battle, while he was still in exile. He was fleeing for his own son, who was pursuing him with an overwhelming army. Can you imagine the turmoil in David’s heart that his own son was seeking to kill him? And for what reason? Absalom did not lack anything while he was living as a prince at David’s court. But Absalom wanted more. Absalom’s heart fell in the hands of the green monster called “Envy”, or “Covetousness”. And to satisfy his envy he was willing to kill. But David had a strong ally: God. And David prayed:

#1.      O God of My Righteousness (Psalm 4:1, Eph 5:25-27)

Ps 4:1 ¶ <<To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.>> Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress (Lit: an enemy)); have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. {Lit: be gracious unto me, and hear my prayer}

This was a prayer not just for David. This is a prayer for all the NT church. Who am I talking about when I speak here of the NT church? The NT church is not a building. The NT church is not a conglomerate of cathedrals, which we can admire throughout the world. The NT church is a group of people. The NT church is that group of people for whom the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died. The NT church is a body of believers whom God calls saints. If all the saints walk out of a building that is called a church then that building, and all the people therein, are no more holy than a Buddhist temple. The church is the Bride of Christ, and Christ “loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”, Eph 5:25-27. This body of believers, throughout time, has always been in great affliction. And so, the church calls out to God for God’s assistance. The church addresses God as the God of her righteousness, the God who is the fountain of pardon and grace, the God who clothed everyone in His church with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. We do not have any righteousness of our own. But the Lord Jesus Christ gave us a covering to hide our own unrighteousness. It was a covering for which He suffered and died on the cross, which was sufficient to atone for the guilt of all the sins of all the elect. Therefore, when God looks at us He sees no sin, because the guilt of all our sins has been atoned for and satisfied according to Godly standards. This is the church, which pleads with God, according to verse 1, and let me paraphrase verse 1 according to the literal translation of these words: “O God of our righteousness, hear us when we call. Thou hast spiritually enlarged us; Thou hast made us grow spiritually when we were still enemies, and Thou hast given us faith. Lord, be gracious unto us and hear our prayers”. The church is in great trouble, Lord. People are not listening to the Word of God. They listen to their own preachers, but they do not check them out with the Bible. Many of the preachers have gone apostate, and they have taken their congregations with them into gospels that do not bring the message of salvation. This apostasy is increasing, not decreasing. We pray that Thou wilt be gracious unto us and keep us in the faith. We pray that Thou wilt deliver them from that bondage, as Thou hast delivered us from our bondage in the past. And so the prayers on behalf of the unsaved go up day after day, month after month, and year after year. There has never been a time period that a majority of the outwardly visible church has been faithful to the Gospel that God stated in the Bible. These days the situation is worse than it ever has been. But God is not out of control. We need to recognize that this is God’s plan. And therefore we thank God for this. And then, in the next verse, the address turns from God toward those in the external church:

Ps 4:2  O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing (Lit: lies)? Selah.

Remember, these words were penned at the time that king David was pursued by Absalom, his son. King David rightly says of his enemies that they despised the royal majesty which Jehovah had given him. The prophet Samuel anointed David as king over Israel, and this must be seen as an act of God, because Samuel acted by the instructions from God. This was the glory that God has given him. David was the God appointed ruler over Israel. But if David has reason to blame his enemies for turning his glory into shame, how much more does the Lord Jesus Christ blame His enemies for turning His glory into shame. Or, using the words of Heb 10:29, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” How severe a reproof shall they be thought worthy who blaspheme the essential glory of “King Messiah”? How long will they love vanity, which means emptiness? They love gospels that are empty, gospel that do not bring the message of salvation, gospels that omit the sovereignty and the severity of God. They love to listen to preachers who say, “”God loves you”. Well, if God loves you, will He send you to Hell? And the answer is: NO! God will not send those whom He loves to Hell. But does God love everybody in the world? NO! There are two kinds of people in this world, the righteous and the wicked. Please take a quick look at Psalm 11:5 (2X). The Bible is very plain. God loves the righteous, “but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth”, according to Psalm 11:5. And so, the people who claim that God loves everybody will say that God loves those who begin to love Jesus. They say that we must initiate the action to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. But this is not the salvation plan that God laid out in the Bible. These are the lies that God is addressing here in Psalm 4:2. It is a salvation plan that is empty, and it is full of leasing, which means lies. And how long will ye seek after lies? Selah! Pause in amazement that people are willing to believe this. But God is not out of control. We need to recognize that this is God’s plan. And therefore we must thank God for this also. It is God’s will that the wicked do not understand the true Gospel. And what is the true Gospel? Here it is:

#2.      The Lord Hath Set Apart for Himself (Psalm 4:3-4, Rom 3:10, John 6:44, Prov 9:10)

Ps 4:3  But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

We have a sovereign God. Our God does what He will, because what He does is always just and right.  And here we read that God has set apart him that is godly. Who is godly? The Hebrew word means “faithful”, or “saint”. In other words, a godly person is one who is on a right relationship with God. How can this be when we read in Rom 3:10 that “there is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE”? We all begin our life with being ungodly. No one is going to turn to God, or to Jesus. And thus it follows that if we see here and there that people do turn to God it means that God has touched their soul. And that is indeed so. God says in John 3 that unless we are born of God, or born from above, or born again, we cannot even see the Kingdom of God here on earth. If we cannot see the Kingdom of God here on earth, much less can we see the Kingdom of God in the life hereafter, and we are still spiritually blind and deaf, and we are still dead in trespasses and sins. We can only turn to God, and we can only become godly, if God takes the initiative and turns us toward Him. The Lord Jesus says in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. Which means that no one can have faith in Jesus, except God the Father draws that person to the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the only ones on whom God decided to bestow His favors. These are the godly ones whom the Lord hath set apart for Himself. These are the only ones whom God will hear when they call upon Him. These are the elect. These are they who are appointed to reign with Christ. And infallibly they shall reign with Him, because our Intercessor is already on high. And for His sake, “The Lord will hear us when we call upon Him”. But what then shall be said of those in the church who neglect to call upon Him? They hear the Gospel call week after week, but they never call upon the Lord for salvation, and they never call upon the Lord for wisdom in all that they read. Then we read in:

Ps 4:4  Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

The Hebrew word for “Stand in awe” is “Tremble”. Selah! Stand in amazement of the salvation that God brings. This is the Gospel. This is the Good News: Salvation is a free gift. It is not earned or deserved. But at the same time, tremble; for it could have been that He passed you by! And so, we see that God leads us to fear Him. Thus we remember that God said in Prov 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. When God gives us this wisdom the fear of the Lord arrests us in our tracks, and we begin to meditate on what we have been doing. We “commune with our own heart upon our bed, and be still”. We think of our transgressions, and all the terrors of death and judgment  because of them. Then after a while we turn to the Lord with a sorrow heart, and we are inclined to do works meet for repentance. God teaches us then to learn to do good as well as to cease from doing evil. Thank God for all of this also, because without God’s elective plan of salvation no one would be saved. How do we thank God? God says here in Psalm 4:5,

Ps 4:5  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Is God pleased with me? Is God on my side? Has God forgiven me my iniquity and cleansed me from all my sin? Has God received me in His love and given me His salvation? If that is so, then I will be deliriously happy. The joy in my heart leads me to want to do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight. Are these also things that delight God? What are sacrifices of righteousness? We know that the OT sacrifices were not sacrifices of righteousness. But repenting sinners can offer sacrifices of righteousness. Repenting sinners can look toward the only true sacrifice of righteousness, made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, who enabled us to offer our works as acceptable sacrifices, because the Lord Jesus has paid for all the sins cleaving to those good works. We do not put our trust in any of our good works. The only reason these works are acceptable to God is because “the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all our sins”. For this we give God thanks. For this we rejoice that we are accepted as sons of God. In spite of all the turmoil in David’s family, and in spite of all the enmity David received from his son, and in spite of all the discomfort that accompanied David when he fled for his life, David was still overflowing with gratitude towards the Lord. Why? Because the Lord had given David the certainty that he was a child of God. Nothing in the world and no ne in the world could take his joy away from him. The joy in his heart was far richer than his earthly kingdom, for he knew that God cared for him.

Is this also our experience? Do we have a joy because we are God’s own children? Or are we rejoicing because of earthly goods we have received? What is going on inside of us? Are we easily downcast if things do not go the way we wanted? Now “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”, Rom 8:28. If we love God then we certainly want that everything goes according to His purpose. We would not want it any other way. This is what we have in our head, but do we also have it in our soul? Do we believe this and practice it all the way? I must admit that I am still struggling with this. For example, we buried Annie Rollema in May of this year. This was God’s will, and therefore this was God’s plan. Have we given it over? I am still struggling with this. And yet, God commands us to give Him thanks for everything. Shall we thank God for this also? Yes we must! David gave God thanks, even though his son Amnon was dead. David gave God thanks even though his rebellious son Absalom sought to kill him. David gave God thanks even though he had to flee from the glory and honor that came with being the king of Israel. And like David, we must give God thanks for everything. We must thank Him for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to suffer and die for us on a cruel cross, and for raising us up from the dunghill and for making us His sons. We must not cease to rejoice in all of this. And what God’s plan is for this little church is according to His purpose. We must rejoice in everything that God brings to our little church, because it is fulfilling His plan. Even disease and death occurs according to His plan. But there are those who say:

#3.      Who Will Show Us Any Good? (Psalm 4:6, 115:17-18, 2Cor 5:8)

Ps 4:6 ¶ There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

The men who with David came asked him, “Who will show us any good?” They saw only despair and misery. They did not understand the nature or the purpose of this persecution and exile. To them good only consisted of their positions of comfort and wealth they once enjoyed in Jerusalem. To them good consisted of returning to Jerusalem, driving out the revolutionaries, and restoring David to his rightful position as king. But now those luxuries were no more. In addition they lived in constant fear of being attacked by Absalom and losing their life. To them nothing appeared to be good. But David is confident that he will regain the kingdom. Did not God promise that his Kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom, and did God not promise that out of David’s loins the Messiah would be born?

And so it is with us. We should be glad that we are alive and well. We live in the most prosperous country in the world, and we still enjoy religious freedom as nowhere else in the world. But even if we did not live under those favorable circumstances, we can still praise God for accepting us as the Bride of Christ, and therefore we are His adopted children. Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 115:17 (2X). Again God declares that He is sovereign. God says in Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased”. But this is also a Psalm of praise and thanksgiving. In V 17,

Ps 115:17, The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

This does not refer to those who have physically died. The dead in this verse are the walking dead or the spiritually dead. They do not praise the Lord while they walk on this earth. And when their body dies their body is put in the grave and their soul goes to a place of silence, because they have not been arranged yet. They have not yet been judged before God’s judgment throne. And so, this verse says that the spiritually dead do not praise the Lord in this life, and neither do they praise the Lord while they wait in silence. And now the next verse:

Ps 115:18  But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.

Who are ”WE”? The pronoun “WE” refers to those who are made willing to read and are able to believe these words. It refers to those who have become saved. In this life WE will bless the Lord. We

will praise His holy name and glorify Him, because the Spirit of God dwells within us. That is what the Spirit of God does within us. And what happens when our body dies? We read in 2Cor 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”. It means that when our body dies, our soul immediately goes to be in the presence of the Lord, where we will continue to live and reign with Christ. That is why we read in this verse, “we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore”. And for this also we must thank our God. God declares that He bestows upon us “the Light of His Countenance”. We read in Psalm 4:6, “lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us”. What does God’s countenance mean? It means His face. When we read that God bestowed upon us the light of His countenance, it means that He made Himself known to us. It means a self-revelation of God. God makes Himself known only to those whom He decides to save. Knowing Christ is salvation. Only the saints know the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him whom He has sent. Therefore this is great reason to rejoice and give thanks to God. Let us continue in Psalm 4:7.

Ps 4:7, Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

Ps 4:8, I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

God has put gladness in our heart, because we are rejoicing for His spiritual gifts. Do we realize that only the saints can truly give thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day? The unsaved thank God for all the physical blessings they have received. But all those things are temporary. The physical things are not really gifts. God gave them to us to test us in what we do with them. And so, all the so-called blessings that are of a physical nature are in fact curses if they are not used for the glory of Christ’s Kingdom. Therefore we give God thanks for the ability to use our physical gifts for His glory.

At this point we can say, “I Will Both Lay Me Down in Peace and Sleep”. Regardless what the circumstances are in this world, I can sleep in peace, because Thou, Lord, art my protector and my defender. Thou only, Lord, makest me dwell in safety. For this we must thank God also.

Please turn now to Psalm 118:1 (2X). For what else do we give God thanks? We give God thanks for keeping us in His care until the end of time and beyond. We read in Psalm 118:1-4,

Ps 118:1 ¶ O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Ps 118:2  Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Ps 118:3  Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Ps 118:4  Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

What is the emphasis of these 4 lines? The emphasis is that His “Mercy” endures “forever”. What is the mercy of God? His mercy is that He withholds the penalty of Hell from us, because the Lord Jesus Christ already paid that penalty in our place. And the Lord Jesus upholds this mercy “Forever”. Our salvation is absolutely secure, because we are in Christ’s hands. We can never fall away. We can never be lost, because we are His fingers, so to speak. And for this we must thank God also.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.

 

 

 

 

Ps 50:14  Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Ps 50:15  And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.