Christians talk about God’s Peace. Do things need to be going well in order to feel that peace? Or can we feel God’s peace when things start to improve? Or, would you believe, can we feel His peace even if nothing’s changed about our situation at all?
Psalm 4 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David. Ps 4:1 Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Ps 4:2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah Ps 4:3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. Ps 4:4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah Ps 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD. Ps 4:6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. Ps 4:7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Ps 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Do we really under how special our relationship with God is?
If He’s present all the time, then can’t we feel God’s peace no matter what?
Should it be dependent on whether things are good, bad, or indifferent?
It’s like the adjacent image? Can you feel God’s peace in that scenario?
We’ll soon see why answer is an unquestionable yes.
Here’s some background on Psalm 4. Some scholars want to relate Psalms 3 and 4. However, the background info explains what that doesn’t really make sense. As such, we shouldn’t hold onto ideas from Psalm 3 to find meaning in Psalm 4.
Those connections between the psalm and David’s flight from Jerusalem are tenuous, however, and in some cases they are even questionable. But the chief reason for doubting that Psalm 4 has to do with David’s flight is that the problems in the two are quite different. The problem at the time of David’s flight from Absalom, reflected in Psalm 3, was one of physical danger. Thousands of troops had aligned themselves against David. He needed God to be his “shield” against these armed enemies.
This is not the problem in Psalm 4. In this psalm the problem is one of malicious slander and lies. It is the psalmist’s reputation rather than his person that is being attacked, and what he needs is a sense of the presence and approval of God rather than physical deliverance. 1
Let’s look at a few verses from the psalm.
Ps 4:2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Ps 4:3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD will hear when I call to him.
Ps 4:4 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Ps 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
God has, does, and will protect those who love Him.
We read about David, a victim of things others, who were against God, saying things about Him that weren’t true.
Which of us hasn’t been there? And who hasn’t wanted God to immediately strike them, or at least do something, and it never seems to happen fast enough for us? Maybe it never happens at all.
Can we feel God’s peace while that’s going on?
David did. He felt God’s peace, even while it was going on. Just look what he said.
- How long is this going to last? Obviously then, it’s still happening.
- God has set apart those who love Him and follow Him. (But what does that mean?)
- God will hear us when we call to Him. (Remember Psalm 3)
- Don’t sin in our anger. (Remember Job)
- That mean it is OK to be angry. To have feelings. We’re human.
- But in that, don’t sin. Not easy. We’ll probably fail sometimes. But hopefully not for too long.
- Be patient.
- Rest in peace and know we’re safe
Huh? Rest in peace and know we’re safe? Even while all this stuff is happening to us?
Could you feel peace if your life was reflected in that image at the beginning?
Could you feel joy, stepping out into that water?
For David, he knew God would rescue him. In his lifetime. But we aren’t David. And we’re not living in Old Testament times. Jesus never promised we’d have a nice safe life.
In fact, Jesus told us we would have trouble. Along the lines of what we’re talking about here, check out the passage below. Grief turning to joy.
The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy
Jn 16:17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
Jn 16:19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Jn 16:25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Jn 16:29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
Jn 16:31 “You believe at last!”Jesus answered. 32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
Jn 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That was intense grief. Jesus leaving His disciples. And yet, He promised them joy. But not in this life.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Feel God’s peace even when things are bad
Yes – we will have trouble in this world. But, Jesus overcame all the troubles in this world, defeated Satan, and because of that we can have the ultimate joy. Eternity with Him in the next life. And because of that, we can have joy and the peace of God in this life!
Yes, in this life. The key to all of this is taking the long view. The really long view. Eternally long.
Because of the promise of what comes in the next life can be, should be, more than enough to have peace and even joy in this life – no matter what. It’s not easy. But it is possible.
I’m living through the series “Don’t waste your cancer”. It’s been, at this time, three years and counting of mostly peace, and even much joy, in the time since I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Years ago, when I was very upset at Gid for what I thought He was doing to me, none of which was even close to having cancer, I used to read Psalms to get through things. Now, years later, after realizing the truth of what David wrote about, what Jesus taught, what I finally learned from the New Testament, I’ve changed. A lot. Instead of reading Psalms just to survive, I trying to help others, maybe you, to realize what it took me so long to learn.
I pray this helps you. And/or someone you know, through you telling them about feeling God’s peace.
Image by Enrique from Pixabay
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