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SLEEPING WHEN ANXIETIES MULTIPLY (PRAYING PSALM 4)

BOOKS ONE TO FIVE OF THE PSALMS, MIKE REEVES SAYS,

PARALLEL BOOKS ONE TO FIVE OF THE BOOKS OF MOSES.

THEREFORE, BOOK ONE OF PSALMS, WOULD HAVE PARALLELS TO GENESIS.

I’M STILL CHECKING TO SEE IF I AGREE, FOR THIS IS SUCH A NEW THOUGHT —

BUT I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE CREATOR OF THE REVOLVING SOLAR SYSTEMS COULD DO THIS!!

ONE EVIDENCE REEVES MENTIONS IN BOOK ONE IS

THE REPETITION OF MORNING AND EVENING, AS IN CREATION.

PSALM 3 IS A MORNING PSALM, PSALM 4 IS AN EVENING PSALM, PSALM 5 IS A MORNING PSALM.

PSALM 4 GIVES US THE SECRET OF RESTFUL SLEEP,

EVEN WHEN, AS WAS DAVID’S CASE, ARMIES ARE AGAINST US.

Psalm4wyeth-MasterBedroom-1
WYETH –MasterBedroom

THIS LIFE IS CHALLENGING, AND ANXIOUS THOUGHTS CAN MULTIPLY

THERE ARE REAL EARTHLY ENEMIES

AND ONE WHO  WHISPERS LIES IN THE NIGHT
snake-preparing-attack

HOW CAN WE LIE DOWN IN PEACE AND SLEEP?

This psalm has helped me this week. I have children facing persecution. For the last two weeks I have had trouble sleeping because my eldest son has been repeatedly threatened by a co-worker who has guns. This was a problem I could not fix. 

And you have problems you cannot fix.

We need this psalm. And the sermon this week is a treasure — it helped me with the problem I cannot fix, and I’ll tell you more, later in this lesson.

in God’s mercy, I came upon a treasure this week that made Psalm 4 so clear and practical. My (and practically everyone’s) favorite Professor at Covenant Seminary was Jerram Barrs, a wise and gentle man who radiates Christ, as do his books. In a 22 minute sermon, he makes Psalm 4 so clear, and also demonstrates the beauty of excellent expository preaching. What is expository preaching? We’ll look at that first, on Monday, because you need to recognize it and seek it, and then we will hear it beautifully demonstrated by Jerram Barrs. Finally we will do the lesson and apply it to our lives.

It is going to be a practical and helpful week. If you are memorizing a verse from each psalm to help you pray when you don’t have them, I suggest you choose the verse after you do the lesson. We’d love to hear what you chose and why.

facebookI’m also happy to share with your that our own Renee has offered to administrate a closed (and in two weeks it will also become secret) Facebook Account for those who are actively involved in the blog. Here is a place you can post prayer requests or personal pictures to help us know you better. You can still ask for prayer here, but it will help newcomers especially not to feel overwhelmed, if many of you use this resource instead. If you are interested in becoming a member, click here for more information and for Renee’s e-mail should you have questions.

 

SUNDAY: ICEBREAKER

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

MONDAY: RECOGNIZING EXPOSITORY PREACHING

I have a new friend who is a Bible Study Fellowship teacher in Chicago, and she told me how she was mentored to teach. Her mentor said,  I want you to say: Verse 1 — and then teach; Verse 2 — and then teach; Verse 3 — and then teach.” Though I think it is possible to to expository teaching without being quite that strict, that would certainly keep you from wandering.
As teachers of the Word, God calls us to teach what His meaning is — not what we want it to say, or to try to make it fit in a topic we want to speak on. The safest way to do that is to keep it in context, going through a book. You also need to keep the book in the context of Scripture, and Jesus Himself told the disciples on the walk to Emmaus that He and the gospel are the heart of the Bible.

I am not saying there is not a place for topical teaching, for there is, but the mainstay of our diet should be expository preaching.

I asked Greg Scharf, who is such a gifted expository preacher and is the head professor of preaching at Trinity Seminary, “What is the difference between expository preaching and gospel-centered preaching?”

He said, “There shouldn’t be. Expository preaching should always reveal the gospel or Christ — but sometimes preachers get so excited about the trees, they lose the forest.” This week, when you hear Barrs, I want you also to see how he uncovers the gospel. Keller, of course, is a master at this, heating our hearts as we see Christ clearly every time.

Read this article (LINK), and then share your comments.

 

2. What comments do you have on the above article? Where are you getting good expository preaching.

TUESDAY: TAKE NOTES ON THIS 22 MINUTE SERMON ON PSALM 4.

Sermon link here. (By Jerram Barrs)

3. Share your notes.

4. How was this a good example of expository preaching that was also gospel-centered?

WEDNESDAY/FRIDAY: BIBLE STUDY

5. Read Psalm 4:1

A. What does David call God and what does this mean? How do you see the gospel?

B. Satan reminds us of our failures so that we are hesitant to come boldly to God and cry for help. How can you overcome the enemy with the gospel truth?

The above reminded me of what our own Elizabeth shared in a former post:

photolibrary_rf_photo_of_sleepless_woman_in_bed

 

I have noticed lately how often I lay in bed at the end of the day and feel guilt. Over words said or left unsaid. Actions I could have taken but didn’t, others I regret taking. But the Gospel has washed away all guilt. Perfect love casts out all fear. I have not only been pardoned, but have been given the gift, a new identity. I am no longer a guilty child, but beloved, though broken, I am His beloved.

 

 

+

He is “the God of our righteousness.” No matter what we’ve done, in Him, we are as pristine as new fallen snow.

When I was snowbound last week, I kept looking outside and seeing the gospel.

 

snow
Dee’s driveway. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

6. In addition to remembering that it is God who makes him righteous, David is recalling past mercies. How do you see that in verse 1?

7. Recall a past mercy of your own and thank God for it here.

8. Read Psalm 4:2-3

A. What lament is in verse 2?

B. What truth does David speak to his soul in verse 3?

C. What lament do you have right now — and what truth can you tell your soul — right here?

9. Read Psalm 4:4-5

A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray?

B. Now you pray for those who are against you or those whom you love.

This was the part of the sermon that helped me with my fear for my son who was being threatened by a real enemy. I began to pray that this co-worker would search his heart on his bed and see his sin. We have hope this is happening for he did apologize to my son. My son is developing compassion for this co-worker, seeing his brokenness. And my son has peace. (Do I? Not completely — though I am sleeping again, and I know I can put my son in God’s hands.)

10. Read Psalm 4:6-8

A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?

B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?

C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.

D. What is the result of this prayer, according to verse 8?

E. Barrs said this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety, but eternal safety. Comment.

Saturday:

11. What is your take-a-way and why?

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269 comments

  1. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?
     
    6a – Who will show us some good?
    6b – Lord, show us the light of your face.
     
    Only God is good. Only He can do good. He is in control. He is working “all things for the good of those who love Him”. (Romans 8:28) It is interesting that in this verse the Lord is doing good BY showing us the light of His face, by blessing them and revealing Himself to them.  6b is a partial quote from the Aaronic Blessing in Numbers 6:24-26, which would be quoted at the end of every temple service, I think. It would be as familiar to every Israelite as their own name.  
     

    Numbers 6:22-27  The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
    24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
    25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
    26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
    27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

     
    The Lord “shining his face” means smiling on his people with favor and “lifting up his countenance” means taking notice and treating his people with favor. This is God’s promise to his people – to do them good, to bless them. 
     
     
    B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?
     
    “You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
     
    He is rejoicing in the Lord, not in material prosperity. He is also rejoicing in the Lord, not in his deeds (which have not been good), his relationships (which are not good), or in his status (which is not good), or in anything else, but in the Lord only.
     
    C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.
     
    Lord, all else around me is quicksand under my feet, my material prosperity, my deeds, my relationships, my status, all of it. Thank you for showing me that these are nothing compared to you. Please shine your face on me and be merciful to me. My heart and my strength is failing. Be the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 
     

    1. Struggling so much with this, this morning Diane. I lost my cell phone yesterday ( I think in the school parking lot); such a very hectic week.  trying hard to not care about the phone, but it does have my whole life for the past 3 years on it…..all kinds of personal stuff 🙁   ( a sweet picture of my mom) It has a password though and is dead. Meanwhile I turned it off online. I’m just stressing that someone would break the code and see all my stuff 🙁  I wish I didn’t care and would put all my faith in God. Humanism, what are we going to do? It actually has my cancer id card in it though, with my name on it. Maybe someone will call the center and return it.  Se la vi! God I’d good! Maybe He wants me to be less available to my needy adult children? Yeah, we’ll go with that…….

      1. Laura–praying right now your phone is found–that is really frustrating! So sorry!

      2. Oh, Laura, such a nightmare!    I assume you tried calling your cell phone number from another phone.    I have found my phone several times that way — I’m astounded to hear it ringing down under a car seat or from a pocket I had forgotten about, etc.  

      3. I’m praying you find your phone, Laura. This is scary with so much personal information on it. And a major inconvenience as well.

  2. 9. Read Psalm 4:4-5
    A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray?
     
    He prays for his enemies to not sin,  to not worry, to trust in God.  I’m not real sure about the “sacrifices of the righteous” though. To sacrifice is to give. The righteous aren’t giving lambs and goats (now), and Jesus came so those “rules” would be no longer forced. What would they give then? Their faith that God would take charge and they no longer needed to do anything?
     
    B. Now you pray for those who are against you or those whom you love.
     
    Oh my goodness, praying for those against me? That’s hard……I can’t think of any one thing right now, but I do feel betrayed by our government. I am part of the middle class and I feel that I am being beaten down and not cared for; we are being sacrificed for others in our country; we are the “working poor,” who are getting poorer everyday here. The middle class is dying; we are at the breaking point. It’s not that I don’t want others to succeed. It’s just that (in my opinion) everyone should have “skin in the game” if you know what I mean. Also, in general, people give from their hearts here in America; that’s what makes us, as a country so special. However, when you force me to give, that’s a problem. The government takes and takes and then we are forced to not be able to give anymore because there is nothing left to give. At that point we are just trying to survive. Weird, but I feel the US government is against me now. So sad. So here’s a prayer for that entity…..
     
    Dearest Lord Jesus, thank you for always taking care of me and my family. We work hard to make ends meet and we know You are always guiding us and are nearby. I pray for the leaders of our government to understand that money doesn’t solve problems all the time. I see it in education…..you throw money at the institution, but students grades don’t improve; it’s a matter of the heart. When they want to improve, they will. You have to “get” to them. More technology, more pressure on teachers, parents, etc. won’t make a student succeed, they have to want it for themselves. Our leaders need to work together to bring us back together, so all of us are able to succeed, not just some. We all need to count. Help our leaders understand that You are with us; that You are watching and guiding. Mold their hearts and help them remember how our country was founded and that the leaders of that time knew You were omniscient and sovereign. Press upon them to follow the laws and actually know them, as well.  In Your Awesome Name I pray. Amen.

  3. 8. Read Psalm 4:2-3.
    A. What lament is in verse 2? He lamenting that his struggle is tarrying. “How long..?” He is also lamenting that his enemies continue to be in sin – I see compassion here as well as grief for the persecution.
    B. What truth does David speak to his soul in verse 3? That he is set apart for God, that God will hear him.
    C. What lament do you have right now? And what truth can you tell your soul – right here. How long, Oh Lord, will I continue to be impatient? How long until my heart is truly of You and I love all others well. How long till I gain Your vision and see people through Your eyes and not my own selfish vision? How long before my heart is steeped in Christ so that my actions flow in Christ.  How long till I see my choices through Your will and not my own. How long, O Jill, will you turn my glory into shame…
    TRUTH: My identity IS in Christ.  The Lord God has come to me and shown me where my stones lie and He has begun His work.  Though my heart would continue to manufacture my selfish desires, my God is bigger and loves me more than I love my idols. Therefore, He who began a good work in me WILL carry it to completion.  Lord, continue to work in me, light my desire that I would turn to You and You could then continue to fill those chiseled away spaces with YOUR love and Your desires. And I say to the persecutor: Take it to my husband, my Christ, He has my days and purpose in His hands.

  4. 9. Read Psalm 4:4-5
    A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray? It seems implied that David is praying because this was not a letter written to his enemies, but a psalm to the Lord.  The fact that David prayed for his enemies’ HEARTS is what impressed me.  He does not necessarily pray for them to quit persecuting him (though he does lament of that and it is implied that the sin he prays of is aligning themselves with the true king’s enemy). But he specifically prays for their hearts, for them to come back to relationship with God (“offer right sacrifices”), not just their actions, and not just in his own selfish desires, I think. This is the gospel – for us to truly pray for those that are cruel to see the light and come to relationship with Christ. (I think of your prison ministry as a good example, Dee.) So many scoff and laugh at those who are in a mess in life, especially those who have hurt us but Christ still desires them to come to relationship and to respond to His love.
     
    B. Now you pray for those who are against you – or those whom you love. Lord, my mind is flooded with those who need you, who live their lives being tormented by the emptiness of the life they have chosen.  Please, Lord, open their eyes to see, may they “search their hearts and be silent” instead of seeking distraction or running away. Specifically I pray for my boys, that they would grow to truly understand You and not just religion.  That they would learn of You and see You in this world in order to respond to Your love with love.  That their hearts would be like a sponge of playdough – absorbent of Your love and lessons and moldable, responsive to what You have planned for them.  Please, Lord, convict me in the moments to pause and listen to how You would have me respond and what to say/not say. How to truly center my parenting on the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Chisel away my selfishness in these circumstances, give me long-suffering.  I rely on You, for I am imperfect and inadequate, and You are perfect to teach of the perfect. Let it be, Lord, let it be.

  5. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8.
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where verse 6b comes from? The taunt is: When my soul feels helpless, it is helpless, no good will come. But David claims the promise that God gave to Moses to give to Aaron to bless His people with.  The end of the blessing in Numbers says “and give you peace.” Which fits this Psalm. I wonder if the whole blessing was implied when David quoted just a part of it? Since it was so familiar to the Israelites? The blessing comes as they were finishing setting up the Tabernacle, right? So just as they were finishing God’s house, his presence among His people. This is a shadow of relationship with God. ??
     
    B. In what does David rejoice in Verse 7? The joy that God has given Him, even when others have taken all his visible blessings. That the blessing of God is much greater in weight and value than anything on this earth.
     
    C. If God has done this for You, thank Him here.  Lord, thank You! For I do see joy in my life.  Though I am slow to understand and quick to fall, I do see joy in the deepest part of me and that gives me great hope and faith in You.  Even on my bad days there is still a joy there that never was. And I am in awe, thank you! Lord, I give You my heart, my soul, my will, my life, that I would be a pleasing sacrifice. Give me awareness that I would serve You in serving others and Lord, I feel selfish in asking, but increase my joy that it may bubble over!!! I praise You, and You alone! Amen.
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer according to verse 8? David’s mind is at ease, he is trusting God for the outcome, regardless of what it is, so much that he can sleep peacefully. This says a lot!
     
    E. Barrs said that this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety but eternal safety. Comment. This amazes me, and it does in present times with those we hear from from the persecuted church, too.  To truly face your own terrible death and/or torture and yet maintain that peace… Wow. It can only be because they have peace at their very inner core, deep and solid, that God has them in their hands for eternity and that this life is just a passing wind. Amazing. This used to threaten me – could I really make that choice?!? To face destruction but still praise Him? But now I have hope. It is slowly sinking deeper, that He is my ultimate safety, security, because all the earth’s rotations are in His hands as are my days. I pray I never endure harsh physical persecution but deeper than that I pray that my faith would continue to understand and root itself deeper to have HIM strong in me at my core. I hope that makes sense….

      1. Oh yes..Jill I agree with Dee..and your answer to 10 e does make sense for  as you have thought through and meditated He has quickened you and given you understanding: ” But now I have hope. It is slowly sinking deeper, that He is my ultimate safety, security, because all the earth’s rotations are in His hands as are my days. I pray I never endure harsh physical persecution but deeper than that I pray that my faith would continue to understand and root itself deeper to have HIM strong in me at my core.”

  6. 9. Read Psalm 4:4-5
    A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray?
     
    If  I had posted before reading Diane’s post above,  I was prepared to question whether David was praying in 4:4-5.  I went back and listened to Barrs again, and I didn’t hear him say the word “prayer” at all during his expository on those two verses.  In fact, what he said was that David was “addressing” his enemies and David was giving them some “advice.”    However, I can see Diane’s point that since David had written this as a psalm to God, he must have been directing these words to God.    I almost want to say, “I wish David had not done it this way.”   🙂        Sometimes when I listen to prayers said by laity in the church, I get the same confusing picture.   The lay person will start out praying to God, later will address Jesus, and will even work in a little sermon-like advice for the congregants.    I’m trying to pray along, but I find myself silently asking, “Who are we talking to now?”    I know that is critical of me, and I try real hard to get over it!   🙂

    B. Now you pray for those who are against you or those whom you love. 
      
    Dear God,   Sometimes I kid myself into thinking “I have no enemies,”  but I suppose  that isn’t quite true.  There may not be anyone with whom I am having royal battle with at this time, but there are those whose behavior and words upset me and make me walk around the house talking to myself.   I pray for the members of our country’s congress.   There is so much going on with both sides of the aisle — there is so much pride and contention, and I feel no one is thinking about your opinion, Dear God.   Few are even thinking of those they are supposed to be serving.   Please give them a huge splash of your wisdom and open their eyes to the sin of it all.   Forgive them, I pray, for all the harm they have done, and put them squarely on the correct path of service.   Help me to not be overly critical, as I know there are issues that are very difficult to address with justice and peace, and  maybe I wouldn’t do any better if I was sitting in their seat.   In Jesus name, I pray.   Amen.        
     

  7. 8. Read Psalm 4:2-3.A. What lament is in verse 2? He’s weary and feeling helpless because it’s been so long that his enemies have been accusing him. He’s stressed and feels like the walls are closing in on him.
    * How long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    * How long will you love vain words?
    *
    How Long will you seek after lies?

    B. What truth does David speak to his soul in verse 3? God chose and set David apart for His purposes.Psalm 4:3 You can be sure that anyone who serves the Lord faithfully is special to him. The Lord listens when I pray to him. ((ERV)
     
    C. What lament do you have right now? And what truth can you tell your soul – right here
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  8. 9. Read Psalm 4:4-5A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray?
    Barrs takes this view and I think it’s one view. I lean toward a second view and feel it can be substantiated by Scripture.
    Though David was a man of war he was not motivated by anger and hatred. Even when Shimei bitterly cursed and threw stones at David as he fled Jerusalem he lived out his own advise and held back his anger.
     
    Sbishai, one of David’s generals demanded,  Zeruiah’s son Abishai said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my master the king? Let me go over and cut his head off!” II Sam. 16:9
     
    Then David addressed Abishai and all his servants: “Listen! My own son, one of my very own children, wants me dead. This Benjaminite can only feel the same—only more! Leave him alone. And let him curse, because the Lord told him to. II Sam. 16:11
     
    Perhaps the Lord will see my distress; perhaps the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing today.”II Sam. 16:12
    Paul also gives wise advice on how to settle anger issues because we don’t want to give the devil a foot hold in our life. It’s not wise to go to bed angry.

    Paul says in Eph. 4:26, Be angry without sinning.Don’t let the sun set on your anger.27 Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil.
     

    1. Cindy, I am still working through the lesson and your take on this is interesting. I was never able to listen to the sermon b/c my computer just wouldn’t cooperate. But I looked up this verse in different translations…one said “Do not let anger control you…” but think it over (on your bed) and remain silent. So I can see that perhaps David is angry about what is going on, but he is talking to himself here and remembering to not take matters into his own hands, but rather trust God to handle this. This would be a different view-that he is not addressing his enemies here.

      1. Susan,
        I don’t think I made myself very clear before–   I was thinking David could have been speaking to the men who were still with him. That’s why I quoted,  II Sam. 16:9  “Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head”.

        David’s men were listening to Shimei and how he was cursing and dishonoring the King, and throwing rocks at him.
        From studying this portion of Psalm 4 and looking at II Sam. 16:9  it is very clear David’s men were furious when Shimei curses David and wanted to kill him. 

        The verse in II Sam. 16:9 would also go along with what David says in Psalm 4:2 “O you sons of men how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies”? Shimei fits that description of someone who is turning David’s honor and glory into shame. . .

        So David speaks to his men and said,  Be angry (or stand in awe) and sin not; commune with your own hearts upon your beds and be silent (sorry for the things you say in your hearts).Selah pause, and calmly think of that)!

          Offer just and right sacrifices; trust (lean on and be confident) in the Lord.

        When you read further in II Sam. 16–   David is gracious to Shimei and forgives him.  David says, to Abishai,  “Let him alone. Maybe the Lord has told him to do this. Maybe he is right! If he is, so be it. But, if  he wrong, the Lord will work it out in His time and His way.”
         
        * Is David speaking to his own soul?
        * Is he speaking to his enemies?
        * Is he speaking to the men who are still with David?
         You can read II Sam. 16 here.
         
         
          
         
         

  9. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8.A. What answer is there to the taunt of 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where verse 6b comes from?
     
    David would have known the Aaronic blessing, Numbers 6:22-27 “The LORD spoke to Moses: 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is the way you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
    24 “The LORD bless you and protect you;25 The LORD make his face to shine upon you,and be gracious to you;26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon youand give you peace.”’27 So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
     
    B. In what does David rejoice in Verse 7?v. 7 You have put more joy in my heart
    David did not give in to his negative circumstances and was learning where his happiness and joy came from. He was full of joy even though he was a fugitive.
    Paul says, Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
     
    C. If God has done this for You, thank Him here.Father I’m  so grateful  for your patience in showing me that having or not having things is not what makes me happy or joyful. Thank you for putting joy in my heart regardless of my outward circumstances.
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer according to verse 8?v. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
    I sense David was learning to lay his worries and burdens down  because he encountered the living God.
    Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”
     
    .E. Barrs said that this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety but eternal safety. Comment. The United States has not seen persecution and Christians dying for our faith here like the persecuted church in other countries. So I agree with Barrs.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     

  10. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?
    I believe it is possible to sleep when anxieties multiply. As long as I stay attuned to my outward world (what’s going on around me–  attuned to my inner world (not being in denial)–  and attuned to God by turning and speaking my laments to God I will gradually learn more and more– that I’m able to  go to bed and sleep in peace because only the LORD keeps me safe.  I also realize this peace may not just mean only physical safety but eternal safety. 

    1. I wanted to add–   as long as I know (not a head knowledge or mental assent) but a deep inner knowing that the LORD is with me I’m able to go to bed in peace no matter what the outward circumstances may be.

  11. A past mercy and prayer for those against us…both tie in together when Kendra was born in 1987.  My husband left me and our two other children, for someone else then.   When he was moving his stuff out,  the kids and I  were crying.   I said something like “I will pray for you” and he turned to me and said “You and your so called God, can  go to  hell.”           He begged me to marry him, 10 years prior and  said he was a christian and we even went to pre- marriage christian counseling, at my request.  We  read a devotion and prayed every morning before work and we went to church every Sunday, but  he changed a few years into the marriage….or he was just pretending to be a christian…I don’t know, but he  wanted his freedom to play around…which he was already doing.   It was a very hard time… especially when he said that to me.  But now when I look back to this day, I think of the verse about being proud when someone persecutes you for Jesus’s sake.   I still pray for him  27 yrs later and his wife, because when my son visits them, things my son  says about them….I’m  pretty sure they do not love the Lord.    But that is not for me to judge.   God loves them and wants us to pray for our enemies and love our neighbors.  It’s hard to pray for people that don’t like you or you don’t care about …but  when they make fun of your love for God…it’a actually a wonderful feeling and makes me feel proud.

    1. Oh Joyce…what happened to you was so unfair, so hard, yet here you are, 27 years later, still praying. You have such a beautiful heart.

    2. How difficult! I know you are right Joyce, but boy is it hard……you are a good person 🙂

  12. 8. Read Psalm 4:2-3
     
    A. What lament is in verse 2?
     
    It sounds like David is being slandered…instead of being given honor and respect, people are heaping shame on him. He wonders how long the people will listen to lies. He repeats “How long…” – this seems like a never-ending trial.
     
    B. What truth does David speak to his soul in verse 3?
     
    No matter what lies his enemies say about him, David bases his acceptance and assurance totally in God. He knows that he has been set apart by God and he knows that God listens to him when he prays to Him.
     
    C. What lament do you have right now – and what truth can you tell your soul – right here?
     
    I have felt “stuck” as in unable to move forward in a relationship for a very, very long time. I have all the head knowledge of what I should do, but there is a deep seated stubbornness in me, an unwillingness to take down the walls I’ve built and that I live behind. I have been selfish and have withheld my love.  My lament could echo Paul’s words in Romans 7, where he laments the struggle between wanting to do what is right yet the sinful nature wars against it. The truth is the gospel has freed me from sin, but I need help to walk in that freedom. Change is hard, and God does not wave a magic wand and magically change my behavior-it is hard work-but He has promised to help me and has given me His Spirit to make change possible.

    1. Susan–your “C”–oh so real and vulnerable and honest. And although our situations are worlds different, you know the relationship in which I can relate to that “stuck”-ness, and the guilt of my own sin. But I love the truth He gave you and pray this with you “The truth is the gospel has freed me from sin, but I need help to walk in that freedom. Change is hard, and God does not wave a magic wand and magically change my behavior-it is hard work-but He has promised to help me and has given me His Spirit to make change possible.”
      Thank you for being so honest Susan–you have such a hard hard road–a true battle against you, as David did. Your humility is such evidence of him in you. I’m praying for you Susan. 

  13. 8. Read Psalm 4:2-3
    A. What lament is in verse 2?
    He is lamenting over his people who are after him-his enemies who have torn down David’s honor and who are being deceived loving what is worthless over loving God. They are setting their affections on worthless things and chasing after idols. 
    -I am blown away at how in David’s suffering he is deeply concerned for his enemies chasing after idols over loving God-This shows that he loves the ones who are causing his suffering. This is like Jesus.
     
    B. What truth does David speak to his soul in verse 3?
    That God has set apart David for Himself and hears his laments. 
     
    C. What lament do you have right now — and what truth can you tell your soul — right here?
     
    OH God you have set those who are yours apart for yourself-and I am deeply sorry that we-I- run to worthless idols..we so easily harbor contention toward one another and we have turned your local church-the hope of the world-into a place of consumerism..Oh God I am guilty of this too but you are on the move-Oh thank you! You told Peter on this rock you will build your church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. God I praise you-over and over for you rescue us when our affections have turned from you-when we believe the lies of evil one and chase after idols-the lies that tell us mans approval is more important than you, or that we need to control things and forget that you are in control. YOU have set us apart for you and YOUR LOVE sustains us..God help us to set our hearts on you-to want you, to trust you..help us to truly bear with and love one another-to thirst together after you and to love strangers..may your light in us be such a strong beacon of hope in our communities that as you soften their hearts and open their eyes they will want you. In your name alone.
     
     

  14. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?
     
    The light of Your face…..Numbers I believe?
     
    B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?
     
    In joy?
     
    C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.
     
    During radiation Joy-ce said I should pray Isaiah 41:13. 
     
    “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)
     
    I imagine Jesus holding my right hand in His left and saying these words to me. It is very comforting; thank you Joyce! I’m not sure it  Thank You Lord for my blog sister!!!!
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer, according to verse 8?
     
    David is comforted and feels that God is in charge and will comfort him. God will do the worrying and David can sleep now in peace.
     
    E. Barrs said this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety, but eternal safety. Comment.
     
    I suppose this is like the stories of the disciples who we’re not concerned with their present physical bodies, but with their eternal lives with Jesus. They had been present when He was on earth and they saw and knew who He was.  Stephen who was stoned, John, beheaded, etc.  They knew their lives were destined for heaven with Him, so what happened here on earth was a temporary inconvenience.
     

    1. Laura Dancer-so love your heart..beautiful how God came to you and was your comfort via this passage in Isaiah and via our sweet Joyce who gave you this passage..Love how you clung to Him.

  15. 9. Read Psalm 4:4-5
    A. It was illuminating to me that Barrs said that now David is praying for his enemies. How does he pray?
     
    David prays that his enemies would offer righteous sacrifices in the sanctuary and trust in the Lord-that they would offer them in faith trusting in God as the one who forgives sins and makes people righteous-but that they would offer it with a humble heart recognizing their own sin-without this the sacrifice is in vain and displeasing to God . 
     
    B. Now you pray for those who are against you or those whom you love.
     
    Lord please help my husband’s supervisor to see her sin-to see her unjust treatment toward all of those under her. Soften her heart and help her to desire you-show her the lies of her idols and that you are more lovely than anyone or anything, and help my husband have compassion toward her in Jesus name, amen.
     
    10. Read Psalm 4:6-8
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?

    6 b is from Numbers 6..to trust that God is with me-to have confidence that He is my righteousness and therefore he will hear me and shine his face upon me-to repent of making anything my Joy over Him. He is my Joy above any material thing, or mans approval, or anything.
     
    B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?
    That God is His Joy-above any joy that any thing on the earth can offer.
     
    C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer, according to verse 8?
    He goes to bed in peace-he doesn’t struggle with anxiety
     
    E. Barrs said this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety, but eternal safety. Comment.
    I am thinking that David had a choice-we/I have a choice-to take refuge in my idol’s Lies or to take refuge in Jesus-that He is more precious to us than any “new wine that may abound”-when we take refuge in God we are safe from being beat down to despair via the lies of our idols.

  16. oops, I forgot to answer 9 c..my husband called to tell me not to try to drive in the ice/snow today. 🙂 
    9 c. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.
     
    Oh Jesus-I cry out- the bend in me is naturally not placing my confidence in you! I, like David’s companions, can easily respond when I am scared- who will show me any good? But at the same time you compel me to bend away and bend toward you. Thank you for You are melting my heart in your Word- I see the Gospel everywhere-show me more..Oh that you would be my joy alone. Amazing Love how can it be-You, the lover of my soul-my daily rescuer..Thank you that you came to me in my long wilderness time and satisfied my misplaced affections-that you exposed the lies and empowered me to turn and replace them with the truth..You have shed your Grace and mercy on me IN ABUNDANCE. Melt my heart more for you-help my desires to become yours..I want to grow in humility and confidence and love you better.

  17. 11. What is your take- -away and why?
     
    My take-a-way this week is a statement from Barr’s sermon…David’s real security is security of his fellowship with God. No matter what else may come into my life I know for a fact that Jesus is with me. He lives within me and is greater than he who is in this world. I fall down but I get right back up and keep walking. When my life was threatened I knew that no matter what happened, whether I lived or died, I would be with Christ. The enemy of my soul will always be seeking to destroy me so I must stay as close as possible to my Beloved. I’ve been ravaged by wolves and it’s not something I want to experience again.

    1. Tammy, It is beautiful to see how He has come to you in your pain. What  a great picture you gave-the stark contrast of being ravaged by wolves vs. being ravished by Him.  

  18. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?
    So I have to say-this is another life changing study from Dee that came unexpectedly. Honestly, I was hoping to continue in Song of Songs because that has become my heart song book…but I see the Song of Songs in the Psalms too..brings tears to my eyes-I have never studied the Psalms this way..He is the WOrd-alive and breathing piercing my soul-and it all connects! I have NEVER been awakened to what God is awakening me to now and how He is connecting it with the rest of Scripture.
     
    So my takeaway firstly is that He is blowing me away..He is making me more in awe of Him.
     
    Secondly,  I am blown away by how I am seeing David now-I used to think he was a man who screwed up yet was after God’s heart-true but pretty shallow! But there is so much more depth here-and more I am sure I haven’t seen yet!
     
    I am getting a small glimpse as to why God delighted in David-at least I think I am! 🙂 David’s heart being “a heart after God” has nothing to do with morality but it has to do with coming to God-being truly sorry for his sins and at the same time being confident that God’s righteousness covered him and that God would hear him-for He hears and helps those he has set apart as His so this is what God is quickening me with today: By truly being sorry for my sins yet at the same time placing my confidence in Him I am lavishing my affections on Him. I am telling God He is not a liar-that He covers me and forgives my sins and He loves me despite my failures and is with me-and God delights in this. I think of the garden when Adam and Eve believed the lie of satan that God is a liar and He surely doesn’t love you-when I believe that lie it grieves God and I am not lavishing Him with my love-but then he comes and rescues me from that lie-oh my..His Love!
     
    So I have a lot to soak in today.. I was just asking God how I can love Him better and I think He just answered me..

    1. Love this, Rebecca. I too can be critical of David but now I see, I am as wicked as he, in my heart. I need to constantly repent for my dark attitudes.

      David’s heart being “a heart after God” has nothing to do with morality but it has to do with coming to God-being truly sorry for his sins and at the same time being confident that God’s righteousness covered him.

  19. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?
    David says, “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord”. From the benediction God gave to Aaron and his descendents to bless the people of Israel with in Numbers 6:24-26. David has taken 2 of the statements of the blessing and put them together as a prayer. This is his response to those experiencing doubt and anxiety.

    B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?
     
    God has filled him with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound—God’s blessing is more precious to him than any material blessing. David has just lost everything—yet he is able to claim greater joy than all his enemies are getting from the harvest.
     
    C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.
     
    Lord, I have not been tested like David, or Job. I have not lost everything materially or in reputation. But I have experienced not receiving what I thought I had to have—and found a greater joy in You than what I had ever hoped for.

    The joy comes in moments. Some days, when I feel stripped of my patience, my energy. You surprise me with the words of a 7 year old who runs in to tell me He hears You in the birds singing outside. Or the other day,  amidst “lecturing” my 2 on their millions of fights in this one day—I catch a glimpse of pink in the window—the evening sky after our first snow, and I can’t continue my train of thought with the kids because I am filled up with You. Joy. Amidst the chaos, the trials, the pain—You are there, beneath the waves—and when You allow me to see You in those moments, I feel joy.
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer, according to verse 8?
     
    He will sleep in peace, no matter how troubled his circumstances.
     
    E. Barrs said this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety, but eternal safety. Comment.
     
    David is thinking of the safety of his relationship with the Lord, the security he has in Him. The circumstances don’t necessarily change, but my mind must. If the things that ache my heart today never improve, or (when) more trials come around the corner, I can believe that peace is still possible. He says it is, so I know it is true. I cannot lose the Only one I need. I keep repeating this truth to my soul. And I don’t have to wait until Heaven to experience that kind of peace, because I have Him now.

    A few days ago, dealing with an ongoing roller coaster struggle in my life, I sobbed to my husband that I was robbed of my joy. As soon as I said it, I heard the words of David, of Chirst in the Psalms, and the lie the enemy was trying to sell me. As my husband prayed over me in that moment, I felt the peace restored—and yet the circumstances remain.

    A few years ago, I walked a real tight rope (not a typical “me” thing)…and at first, in that circumstance, I was so wobbly and sure I would fall. But when I convinced my brain that these huge cables were not going to let me fall—that it was IMPOSSIBLE, I had SO much fun up there! My current circumstances feel like that tight rope—I can feel so wobbly, never certain what the day will look like. But He does hold me, and it is impossible for me to fall. So even in my uncertainty, joy is not only possible, but un-steal-able.

    1. Wow, Elizabeth – your C. answer brought tears to my eyes! Love this!

  20. 10. Read Psalm 4:6-8
    A. What answer is there to the taunt of verse 6a in verse 6b? Do you remember where 6b is from?

    6a. “Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ ”
    “Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord”
    I’m thinking that 6b is the answer to the taunt in 6a, because when people are asking if there is any good to be found, “the light of your face” can be interpreted as God’s revelation to the people, so they are able to perceive the good that is present. I know that this is usually interpreted to indicate “God’s favor” rather than “God’s wisdom” here. But I see the added feature of God providing his revelation along with his favor.

    This passage came from Numbers 6: 24-26.

    B. In what does David rejoice in verse 7?
    “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.”
    I think David is rejoicing that, even though he has all of these difficult situations to deal with, he is confident that God is going with him through it all, and it gives David so much peace.
     
    C. If God has done this for you, thank Him here.

    I know God has done this for me multiple times in my lifetime. The first time I became aware of this was while I was a college senior. I don’t know why, but the Dean of Students appointed me to be the chairman of the Discipline Committee for the women’s dormitory – oh my!! My committee of five had to come up with a code of discipline for the dorm residents. We had to make decisions as to what punishments would occur for which infractions (missing curfew, improper dress, smoking in the dorm, etc.) Pardon the sarcasm here, but we just knew this job was going to make us extremely popular with our peers!! The night came when everyone was supposed to be gathered down in the big lounge, so that all of these rules could be explained. I remember praying fervently before going down to lead that meeting. I remember asking God to help me not take personally the inevitable wrath that I feared would come from that group. I also asked that He would help me not answer anger with anger but with a soft answer. I arose from that prayer feeling “refreshed.” I went downstairs, and waded through to the center of my peers, all seated on the floor wearing their pajamas and robes. By the grace of God, I managed to stand there and calmly present the new discipline code and field the questions. After it was all over, one of the dorm mothers commented that I had shown amazing “poise under fire.” I explained to her about the prayer I had before the meeting.
     
    D. What is the result of this prayer, according to verse 8?

    Sleep, peace, and safety as a result of turning everything over to God and depending on Him.

    E. Barrs said this didn’t necessarily mean physical safety, but eternal safety. Comment.
    Well, yes, not everyone gets by with both. I think in particular of the early Christian martyrs who ended up not being physically safe, but were eternally (and spiritually) safe.

  21. 11.   My take-away:
     
    It has been an excellent week!    I enjoyed and benefitted from Dee’s photos and Barrs sermon a lot.   However, this week it was the exercises that were prescribed that are my take-away.  I found it so beneficial to recall the times when God had mercy on me, and to recognize times in the past  when He went with me through  deep valleys.   I need all of that right now, as our family is facing the unemployment of two family members.    I am remembering that God has seen us through before, and He will do it again!     

  22. Oh I am so excited to share this! Please listen–I think you’ll be blessed! Oh, and Rebecca–I can hear your voice singing this one!
    Psalm 4 from the Psalm Project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTJcnuGMyr0&list=FLz4oekFts7pRH4yaKVwNP3w&index=59

    1. OH ELIZABETH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am listening now..it melted me..oh my..and it goes into Psalm 10..LOVE THIS! I didn’t know this project existed!! I am so glad you shared..Maybe Dee can use these songs to go with the weekly studies-so cool! 
       
      Please read what I wrote to you on FB and I also shared the song. 🙂

    2. WOWWW! This is the coolest thing ever! I thought I heard Michael Card mention something like this once, or maybe someone else on Moody, but I never looked it up! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. My takeaway: so much. And I wish I had time to comment on everyone else’s thoughts! Such good things shared, thank you all! 
     
    I really appreciated the sermon, too. 
     
    2 things. First I, too, started to understand the distinction of DavId’s heart. He was given divine insight into relationship with God. It is “easy” for us us to put things in a gospel lens. But David only knew prophesies, most of which had heavy expectations attached (military leader, etc). But he still seemed to understand that the joy, security, righteousness was in the relationship not religion and he desired relationship with God, not just the good that God could give. It was not a contest to see how blessed he could get in his life but truly a journey to continue relationship with his God! 
     
    Second – I am soooo encouraged by this week’s study! Every week has been good and the Lord has used it in my heart but this week I was blessed to “start seeing” a bit more clearly the Psalms through the gospel and see beyond battle and war to the heart of the psalms. I will admit I did not want to leave SoS either but I am so grateful for this study and I can see that I will be hesitant to leave the Psalms, as well. =)

    1. Jillwithaj, I really liked how you put this ” It was not a contest to see how blessed he could get in his life but truly a journey to continue relationship with his God!”  That’s what a true walk with God is! 

  24. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?

    SO much to glean from Psalm 4. He wants me to call to Him, and He hears me. I have no righteousness on my own, but He willingly IS my righteousness, He covers me with His own robe. He has shown His faithfulness to me in the past. He has already fought for me the only battle that could have taken me from Him—and He is victorious. I am His. He has set me apart for Himself, and shielded me with His protection. My sins are many yet He hears my humble confessions. He shines His face upon me, and the joy that comes from Him is greater than anything I could ever want. Nothing else will satisfy my heart—it is made to be filled by Jesus. I would rather have Him and nothing else, than everything without Him. And because I know He never leaves me, He is with me in every detail of life, I am filled with the peace that comes from knowing I am safe in His arms.

    I loved this from Spurgeon on Psalm 4:8 “There is something inexpressibly touching in this “lying down” of the Psalmist. In thus lying down he voluntarily gave up any guardianship of himself; he resigned himself into the hands of another; he did so completely, for in the absence of all care he slept; there was here a perfect trust.”
     
    Lord, help me to release any “guardianship” and rest solely in Your trusting arms.

  25. Take away:  “O God of my righteousness.”  I’ve been pondering and encouraged by this all week.  Life’s circumstances are so up and down.  But my righteousness is unchanging because He is my righteousness.  Psalms 3 and 4 fit together so well and provide much-needed truths for my soul.  I don’t have the words to express how deep an impact and how timely this is for me.

  26. I’ve tried to post my take away twice. I hope it sticks this time.
    My take away is my continued need to call out to the Lord when I am anxious and speak the truth to my soul that God is my security. I also like having a biblical “springboard” for prayer and the verse on what to pray for my enemies is gold.

    1. Dawn- how are you?! We were praying for a situation awhile back…. Any progress? And all your appliances?

      1. Jill, The insurance company came through. It’s still too cold to get the trees out of our yard so it still looks like a war zone. My work situation is improving. Now I am working on sincerely praying for those who have hurt me and spread lies about me. It’s easy to make the words come out of my mouth, but I’m finding it difficult to really mean it.
         

  27. I would love to order the picture of the dog lying on the bed with Psalm 4: 8 scripture.  I believe the print is called “Master Bedroom” by artist Wyeth.   I cannot find it anywhere.   Can you please tell me where I may order it from?  I am anxious a lot snd can not sleep well and looking at that each night as I go to bed would help me to remember that God is watching over me.  Thanks for any help you can give me. 

  28. Very good thoughts, but you can elaborate verse by verse meanings