Summary: God’s plan for dealing with times of distress.

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Psalm 4:1-8

A Drop Forged Faith

Woodlawn Baptist Church

December 28, 2003


If you’ve paid much attention to your tools, you’ll notice a stamp on some of them that says they are drop forged. What’s the big deal with being drop forged? Did you ever wonder? When something has been drop forged, that means that a piece of steel, like a steel bar or rod gets heated to extremely high temperatures to improve its malleability and to increase the steel’s dynamic grain flow. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the properties of the steel are rearranged to make it much stronger than it previously was and that it is heated to such a high temperature that it becomes easy to work with. Once the steel is heated to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, it goes through the forging process where the heated metal is compressed between two dies. One die is stationary, and the other is dropped with the impact hammer of the press. After the steel is cooled, you have a tool that is both functional and strong enough to handle the job it was made to do.

As I read Psalm 4, I find a man who was shaped and strengthened much like the steel I’ve described to you, a man that God was able to use because he became both functional and strong enough to handle the job he was given to do by God. He didn’t begin that way. In fact, David began like all of us do. In the beginning we are all just raw pieces of cold steel, but in the hands of God we are changed, and if there is anything that puts the heat to our lives and applies enough pressure to change us it is times of distress. James wrote that “the trying of [our] faith works patience,” and that if we allow it, patience will do a work in us that will bring about spiritual maturity. I think that’s why Peter was able to say that…

“the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

When your faith is under fire people see who you are – you are either all show or you continue to grow, and your spiritual growth brings praise and honor and glory to our Savior Jesus Christ. As we consider this psalm tonight, I want you to see that it really isn’t so important what the trials are as what you do when they come. Some people try to link Psalm 3 with Psalm 4 and say that the thing that was causing David distress was Absolom, and that may well be, but it really doesn’t matter. If it did the Lord would have let us know. He doesn’t though, so we won’t indulge in trying to give the psalm a historical setting. What we do know is found in the title, “To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.” The word Neginoth means stringed instruments. The title literally says that this is a Psalm composed by David for the chief musician to be sung with stringed instruments.

As we study this Psalm tonight, I want you to see that God has a three-step remedy for distress that is quite different from the one we usually resort to, but if we will allow Him, God will use the trying circumstances of our lives to shape and strengthen us so we might be better equipped for the work He left us to do. In Psalm 4:1-8, David wrote…

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”

You Must Turn To God In Prayer

In Psalm 3, it is obvious that David’s distress was brought about by a physical attack against him by an invading army. In Psalm 4 however, the distress was an attack on his person and character. Verse 2 asks two questions, “How long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and seek after leasing?” Another version states the verse this way: “O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? {How long} will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?” You see, here we have David’s reputation coming under attack. Of course we know that David was not perfect. He sinned like we all do, but that was not the occasion in this Psalm. The attack on his reputation here was one built on slander and lies, which is what the word leasing means.

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