The Word of God is where we can find peace in troubled times, and rest even in those moments we are feeling the stress from a busy world around us.
I thought I would take a moment to look up the words GLAD and GLADNESS in the Bible to see how many times those words make an appearance, and I’m GLAD to tell you that there are 139 references to the word.
I believe there are many “cousins” of the word Gladness, such as Joy and Happiness, and maybe more, and you can sure find enough mentions of those words in the Bible to realize that God is one who not only wants His people to be glad or joyful, but also expects us to have that kind of attitude, even in a world that seems to want to dwell on the negative.
I mean let’s face it, without the negative; many news networks would have a hard time staying in business. For some reason, there is not only a thirst to share bad news, but evidently, there is a thirst to hear it as well!
“Being Glad in a Sad World”!
We’re going to look at a portion of scripture from the Psalms that will help get this message across, and it’s found in Psalms 4:1-8 (KJV)
We’re going to look at three areas within this scripture today, and they are:
1. The Cry of the Righteous
2. The Commitment of the Righteous
3. The Calm of the Righteous
First of all, we see:
I. THE CRY OF THE RIGHTEOUS
In verses 1 and 2, the Bible says:
1 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.
2 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.
As many of you know, David went through many difficulties on his way from the shepherds pasture to the king’s palace as the second King of Israel.
It is believed that at this time in his life is when his very own flesh and blood, his son Absalom was actively conspiring to kill him as we can read about in 2 Samuel Chapters 13-18.
I don’t know if there’s anything that hurts the heart of a parent or Grandparent so much as knowing that their child or grandchild wants nothing to do with God, and as a matter of fact, is doing about all they can to openly trample on the hearts of those who love them.
At this time, David was feeling not only the sting of someone rising up against him to overthrow his throne, but the added difficulty of knowing it was his very own son who was stirring up the hearts of the people against him.
2 Samuel 15:4-6 (NIV)
4 And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice."
5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
One might look at this, and think that David would do all that was within his power to wipe out Absalom and those who had risen up against him, yet all he could do was cry out to God for mercy.
I believe one of the keys in being glad in a sad world, is to stop looking for ways to get even with those who have hurt us, and ask the Lord for more grace and mercy in our own lives to deal with the situations we go through.
There are times that the only thing we can do, especially when it relates to our own families is cry and weep before the Lord on their behalf.
We’ve done all we can do, and all we can do is ask for some relief from the distress we face.
I believe we still serve a God who is able to give us the relief we need, IF we continue to trust and believe in Him for grace and mercy.
On the internet, you find story after story circulating about a person or event, and there is often no way to know if it’s true or not. There is a website called Snopes that is supposed to be the Bible of the Internet – In other words, if you want to know if a story is true or not, you simply go there and find out. Well, let me tell you that even there, there are times you will not find out the real story, however, some people would believe in snopes.com before they would ever believe the Word of God.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with crying out to the Lord in need as you realize you don’t have all the answers. It’s ok to cry and weep before the Lord as you express your own shortcomings, but place your trust in Him as your source of help.
The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. No, he wasn’t perfect, but I think one of the things that made David such a man of character and integrity was the fact that he continued to have a tender heart toward God.
After all this, and the attack of Absalom on David’s kingdom, we read of how David felt when it was all over because his son Absalom had been killed –
2 Samuel 18:31-33 (NIV)
31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has delivered you today from all who rose up against you."
32 The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man."
33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"
I believe one of the seeds of gladness is to continue to have a tender heart –
Next, we see:
II. THE COMMITMENT OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Psalms 4:3-5 (NIV)
3 Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.
4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.
That word “commitment” is not one that is too popular nowadays in so many areas, yet I believe if we are going to experience being “glad in a sad world”, we must have some good old fashioned “stick-to-it-iveness” – Now, when I typed that word into my Word Processor, it was quickly underlined as being a word I need to correct, yet this is something that should be in the dictionaries of everyone!
David said I know that my heart is right with God, and indeed I have been set apart for Himself, and that because of this, God will hear my prayers when I cry to him.
Remember, he was sharing this scripture around the time of the rebellion of his son, and there were plenty of people around him that continually were counseling him to deal with him the way he should be dealt with in their minds.
David probably heard lots of “if he were my son, then I would…”
I believe another key in having seeds of gladness in our lives is to get rid of the seeds of “madness”!
One of the greatest ways we can do this is to make sure when we lay our heads down on the pillow at night is that we don’t go to sleep in anger and frustration – Which by the way, is very difficult to do in the first place.
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
David was saying, when you lie down to go to sleep, make sure that even in your anger, hurt, and frustration with others around you, to have a spirit of reconciliation, and yes, even take time to SEARCH YOUR OWN HEART!
There is a song we sing, and the title is: CLEANSE ME – The words go something like this:
Search me, o God, and know my heart today, try me o Savior, know my thoughts I pray, See if there be some wicked way in me, cleanse me from every sin, and set me free!
One of the most depressing things you can do in this world, and is guaranteed to keep you down is to be one who is constantly examining the lives of people around you.
David said here to offer the sacrifice of righteousness and to trust in the Lord!
Another key to being glad in a sad world is to TRUST IN THE LORD!
Some people have more trust in the chair they sit in than they do the God who gives them breath! How many of you wondered if that chair was going to do it’s job today before you sat down?
David was committed to offer sacrifices, AND to trust in God.
When we trust God, it is not only a recipe for peace in our own lives, but a testimony to those around us who need to know the answer that lies within us.
Lastly today, we see:
III. THE CALM OF THE RIGHTEOUS
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
As I said, we live in a world that is often filled with negative events, and happenings around us that leads to negative thinking as well.
David is saying here that people are asking if there is anything good that is happening at all, and if so, where is the evidence of it?
Well, I happen to believe that while there may be many challenges all around us, we still serve a God of great victory, and it’s good to remember that we are on the winning side! You might ask how it can be so, and if you’ve taken some time to read the end of the book, you realize that this thing is going to turn out all right for those who love God, and live for Him.
The only ones who really have a reason to fear tomorrow are those who have decided that their way is the best way.
You see, the Bible says that there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is destruction.
You cannot live a life of victory and gladness based on feelings alone. There are times when faith becomes the rule of the day, and we simply trust in God, and in the trusting comes the peace and gladness of heart.
I like what David says in Verse 7 when He says to God - Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
In other words, David recognized the source of his gladness was God Himself!
Too many times, we think the source of our gladness are the things and stuff, and people we have around us, but the bottom line is that it’s God who brings us true and lasting gladness.
In those days, as you know farming was what most people were involved in, either on a large scale, or at least for their families. People would often gauge their level of happiness and worth in life by the things they had around them, and when the crops were good, they were joyful, and when they weren’t, there was a great sense of sadness.
David said that even when their crops are the best of the best, and increased, the gladness that God gives is worth much more, and lasts a lot longer!
Your source of gladness shouldn’t be your boss, your job, your husband, or your wife, the children or grandchildren, the latest Penn State victory, a new dress, diamond or 4 wheeler.
Basically, David was saying my gladness is better than your gladness!
With this kind of gladness, even though his very own flesh and blood was trying to kill him, he was also able to say in vs. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
While others cry themselves to sleep over the things they don’t have, we can smile ourselves to sleep over the relationship we do have in Christ!
Seeds are planted to grow, yet they must be tended and guarded. There are plenty of people that would just love to steal your joy, yet, be sure to set a guard around your heart, and don’t allow it to happen.
There is a calm that the child of God can have similar to the calm Jesus had when He was sleeping in the bottom of the boat on a stormy sea.
Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.