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Summary: 1) The Confidence in Meditation (Psalm 4:1–3), 2) The Calling for Meditation (Psalm 4:4–5), 3) The Confession in Meditation (Psalm 4:6–8)

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Researchers have determined that we produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day and 70% to 80% of those are negative. This translates into 40,000 negative thoughts a day that need managing and filtering — no small task for any person. Even the most confident individuals fall prey to negative, judgmental, irrational, fear-based thoughts that challenge their actions and poke holes in their plans. People have developed coping mechanisms to prevent giving up or breaking down. (http://business.financialpost.com/2013/10/16/three-techniques-to-manage-40000-negative-thoughts)

Overstressed people are increasingly turning to various forms of Eastern meditation, particularly yoga, in search of relaxation and spirituality. Underlying these meditative practices, however, is a worldview in conflict with biblical spirituality.

Many Eastern religions teach that the source of salvation is found within, and that the fundamental human problem is not sin against a holy God but ignorance of our true condition. These worldviews advocate meditation and "higher forms of consciousness" as a way to discover a secret inner divinity (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/november/10.78.html).

Biblical meditation is an act of calling to mind some supposition, pondering upon it, and correlating it to one’s own life. The meditation of a righteous person contemplates God or His great spiritual truths (Pss. 63:6; 77:12; 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 148; 143:5). Meditation is the repetitious going over of a matter in one’s mind because it is the chief concern of life. The constant recollection of God’s past deeds by the hearing of Scripture and repetition of thought produce confidence in God (Pss. 63:6–8; 104:34; 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148; 143:5). Through it they commune with God and are thereby renewed spiritually (Matthews, L. (2003). Meditation. In (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler, Eds.)Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.).

In Psalm 4, the Psalmist David is besieged with suffering, injustice, and oppression. Additionally, Ps. 4 also exhibits the changing attitudes of the worshiper in his most difficult circumstances. David’s movement will be from anxiety to assurance, as he travels down the road of prayer, meditation and trust in God. At the end of yet another day of pressure, pain, and persecution, David engages in 3 conversations which ultimately lead to a point of blessed relaxation (MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 745). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.)

These three conversations express:

1) The Confidence in Meditation (Psalm 4:1–3), 2) The Calling for Meditation (Psalm 4:4–5), 3) The Confession in Meditation (Psalm 4:6–8)

1) The Confidence in Meditation (Psalm 4:1–3)

Psalm 4:1-3 [4:1]Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! [2]O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? [3]But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.

As with each of the previous spiritual disciplines, the purpose of meditation is communion with God. When meditation is urgent, the reason is usually because of a crisis. The emphasis by repetition in verses 1–3 of Psalm 4 is on God’s hearing prayer: “Answer/Hear me when I call. … Be gracious/have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.” “The LORD hears when I call to Him.” Whatever the causes of the distress in verse 1, the answer lies in God’s spoken word and in bold, believing prayer. That must be the basis of godly meditation Psalm 4 is traditionally classified as an individual lament, but more precisely it is a psalm of confidence in which the innocent worshiper rises above the grounds of lamentation with sure trust in God (Craigie, P. C. (1998). Psalms 1–50 (Vol. 19, p. 79). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.).

When David begins in verse 1 with a call upon God to hear him, he identifies clearly the One to whom he calls: “O God of my righteousness!”. Meditation is not so much about getting in touch with our thoughts and self but relating to God.

God is righteous (sedeq) because of His consistent and absolute action. He is His own standard of righteousness, and there is no greater measure. Righteousness implies relationship: God is righteous in that He keeps His covenant with His people, upholds His moral law, and fulfills His promises. Thus as “righteous,” God is both our just judge and our savior.

The word “righteous” (ṣeḏeq) expresses the relation between God and his people. It signifies more than an absolute standard or norm. True, God is righteous in himself; but his righteousness is expressed as he relates to his people, as a father to his children. He has promised them his presence and victory over adverse circumstances. Faith in God’s righteousness is based on God’s covenant promise that he will come to the rescue of his children in need (Ps 25:4–5; Isa 45:13; cf. NEB, “maintainer of my right”). Calling boldly on God is a privilege that belongs to his children. It is to this end that the psalmist calls on God as “God of my righteousness.” (VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)

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