A Pathway to Peace in 2018.

Psalm 3 and 4 show us David's struggle to find peace in threatening circumstances. Psalm 3 is his prayer about the physical threat of his son Absalom's coup. Psalm 4 is likely connected and addresses the threat of permanent harm to David's reputation. David's prayer, perspective, and poise are an example of how we can find peace regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer (Psalm 4:1)

The pathway to peace begins with God-centered prayer. David honestly entreats God using imperative language. This does not reflect a demanding attitude, but reveals David's conviction that there is no other source of help for him. God is the only source of peace and safety.

David predicates his prayer on God's righteousness and faithfulness. Full assurance in prayer cannot come without daily growth in our knowledge of God. David remembers his deliverance from former troubles. He expresses this in terms of relief from claustrophobia and enjoying a wide open space.

God is always acting in mercy and grace. He does not owe us anything. David acknowledges that God is still righteous whether or not He chooses to help.

Perspective (Psalm 4:2-5)

God does an amazing work through prayer: He is changing David as he prays! David is able to accurately understand the problem. The people causing his trouble are too significant and dangerous to ignore. Some troublesome people we can live with, but others are capable of doing us real harm. David's divine calling to be king of Israel was being obstructed.

In verse 3, David is able to accurately define reality despite what his finite senses can discern. Truth is most precious when reality appears to be in contrast. This is part of the value of troubling people and circumstances: to clarify our faith. Assurance is a discipline of the mind when emotions and senses say otherwise. Assurance of peace and safety is found in the settled, unchanging eternal state of one whose identity is "in Christ." David knew he was set apart for the Lord Himself.

David's assurance is the outcome of a well-studied and practical theology. He knows that God hears when we call. His anger at those threatening him turns to pity and evangelistic zeal in verses 4-5.

Poise (Psalm 4:6-8)

At the end of the psalm, David's attention turns to the "many" others who were victims of dangerous people. He pities them and wants to minister to others in calamity. He has gained enough poise to testify to God's power in human hearts in verse 7. What an example!

Application Points

  • David uses imperative language in his entreaties to God. Intensity in prayer is okay when it shows your reliance on God as the only source of help!
  • God's omniscience should liberate communication. He already knows, so don't hide anything from Him.
  • Full assurance in prayer cannot come without daily growth in our knowledge of God.
  • Only God can provide peace and safety. Your words may only complicate a situation. Follow David's example in this psalm: pray theologically and minister to others in the midst of your trouble.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place"

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.