Many came to me after I preached the sermon on Psalm 3 and 4 and mentioned how relevant the sermon was to each one of them. Some of them had gone through some scenarios that were mentioned in the sermon. We all go through trials. How do we respond as we go through the fiery trials?
Do we run from people to people seeking answers? Do we have a pity-party? Do we walk like a zombie because we haven’t slept for nights on end? Do we resort to drugs or alcohol? Primarily, how we respond to trials is dependent upon our view of God. What we understand about God plays into how we respond to the dire circumstances in our lives. Do we truly understand the God of the Bible? We may have created a god of our making like the Israelites did with the golden calf in the Book of Exodus. But the golden calf was not the God of the Bible. How could a golden calf deliver the Israelites from their trials or even bring comfort to them? We may memorize scripture references, know the stories of the Bible, be a Sunday School graduate. We may have received the Timothy award, or attended church regularly. But none of these will help us go through the fiery trials with hope, joy, and peace unless you truly know the God of the Bible.
Now you may know the God of the Bible. But as you go through the trials of life, you may be like the ten spies in the Book of Numbers. As we read through the story of the spies that were sent to explore the land of Canaan in Numbers 13:31-33, we see that ten of the spies were overwhelmed by the strength of the Canaanites, especially the descendants of Anak, who were giants. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30) What was the difference between the two groups of spies? Had they seen different things? No, the land was the same. Both groups had seen the giants. But the ten looked at the giants, forgot about God and saw the situation as hopeless. The two spies Caleb and Joshua, kept their eyes on God and were not afraid of the giants. In the same way, in Psalm 3 and 4, David turned his thoughts to God and he was reminded how strong God was. The situation was hopeless and discouraging but as King David turned to God, the king knew that God would lift up his head and restore him to his throne. Where are you looking to for strength? Are you keeping your eyes on your problems? Likewise, you will see the giants. Or are you looking unto Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith? (Hebrews 12:2)
We also see in Psalm 3 and 4, that King David drew near to God. As we read Psalm 3:1-4, we see a man crying out to God in the midst of his multiplied miseries. Many were rising against him. Many were telling David that his God would not deliver him. But through all this turmoil, David knew the God of the Bible. He knew his God was a shield to him and the glory and the lifter of his head. Psalm 3:4 reads, “David cried out unto the Lord with His voice and the Lord heard him from His Holy hill.” This is what Psalm 121:1-2 reads, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where shall my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” These truths enabled David to lay down and sleep through the night. King David found his comfort in the midst of his fiery trials by crying out unto the God of the Bible. Let us examine our lives today. Do you know the God of the Bible? Or have you created a god who is a figment of your imagination? A god who is patterned after the idols of your heart. Let me tell you that this is idolatry and a futile way of going through life here on earth. The result for such people who live this way is separation from a Holy God for eternity. This is the state of unbelievers. And if you do not know the God of the Bible you are an unbeliever.
King David rejoiced in the God of the Bible. He recognized his own sinfulness. He recognized he was sinful from his mother’s womb, that he was conceived in sin. He recognized that because of his sin, he was separated from God. He recognized that he needed a Savior and only God could save him. He declared that in Psalm 3:8, that Salvation belong to the LORD. Jonah declared the same thing in Jonah 2, that Salvation is from the Lord. This is what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, you must be born again.” Jesus was talking of a cleansing that will purify us from sin and give us a new heart through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. So, a stubborn, self-willed, self-directed, autonomous, self-worshiping, heart is replaced by a heart of flesh. The heart that conjures up evil continually is now replaced with a heart that seeks after God, loves God, repents of his/her sin, seeks humility, is devoted to God’s glory, is in continual prayer, desires holiness, clings to God’s Word, hates sin with a passion and lives his/her life separate from the passions and lusts of the world. Are you saved? Do you know Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life for you on the cross?
Not only did King David rejoice in God who was the author of his salvation, he also rejoiced in God who was the source of His righteousness. He did not credit any righteousness that he had to himself. He credited his righteousness to God. Second Corinthians 5:21 reads, “He made Him who knew no sin on our behalf, so that we might have the righteousness of God in Him.” This means Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, kept every aspect of the law perfectly. Thus, He was perfectly righteous. Christ then went to the cross voluntarily and the sins of His people were placed upon Him. God’s wrath upon His people was now canceled because the wrath of God was satisfied by Christ. Now as we place our trust on the finished work of Christ, His perfect righteousness is now transferred to our account. So, when God looks at us, He sees the perfect righteousness of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why Romans 8:1, reads, “Now there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” This is the amazing truth that is often ignored—the teaching on justification. David in the midst of his dire circumstances, facing a military coup, focused on his justification.
Are you focusing on your salvation and your justification in the midst of your everyday trials? Are you drawing near to God? Are you crying out to God? Or are you focusing on the trials and problems in your life? Instead, put your eyes on Jesus the author and the perfecter of your faith and find new courage to walk through your trials.
~Pastor Sam Mathews