Summary: David of old gives us the path of stress relief in Psalms 4.
INTRO.- David prayed, "Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." David experienced stress just like us. Stress is not a modern invention, but it does seem like we have more things to cause us stress.
ILL.- Outside the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, which is Denmark’s Parliament building, there are three stone figures guarding the entrance. They represent the earache, the headache, and the stomach ache. "They are here to suggest," said a Dane, "that if you enter politics, you will have all three."
I think that most of us would agree that entering the political world could well bring on many things that cause stress. And I don’t think many of us are quick to enter that world. God have mercy on those who do. Pray for our President.
We live in a very stressful or stress-filled society. And it effects all of us, not just politicians. If you don’t believe me, let’s take a test. Let’s take a stress test, not for your heart muscle but for your heart of hearts. Answer these questions in your mind.
1. I feel overwhelmed and confused. Never, Sometimes, Often, Always
2. I have difficulty sleeping.
3. I find myself feeling worn out at the end of the day.
4. I have increased digestive problems such as heartburn, constipation and diarrhea.
5. I feel self-conscious or inadequate.
6. I have difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering things.
7. I feel depressed or I cry uncontrollably.
8. When things don’t go my way I get angry and aggressive.
9. I experience shakiness, trembling or nervous laughter.
10. I eat more food or drink more alcohol to make myself feel better or more at ease.
11. I experience eye strain and/or have dark circles under my eyes.
12. I feel all wound up, tense or nervous.
13. I experience tension or tightness in the muscles of my neck, back or jaw.
14. I have arguments with my co-workers or boss.
15. Changes in my daily routine, living conditions or relationships cause me distress.
Do any of these things sound like you? If so, what can we do to handle stress? Here are some things that experts suggest:
1- Identify your triggers
2- Get a Massage
3- Do Breathing exercises
4- Do some Aerobic exercise
5- Develop a support network: Studies show that women are better able to cope with emotional stress than are men due, in part, to their stronger support networks.
There is one important thing we have left out. What is that? THE HELP THAT WE HAVE FROM ABOVE!
Ps. 121:1-2 "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Our help comes from someone who can do it all! Someone whose wisdom is not wanting. Someone whose power is not puny or pint-sized. Someone whose love is not limited, provisional or conditional. He is God. He is our Creator and our Father.
Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
I still believe the words of Jesus. I still believe He can do what He claims; not only save us from our sins but also soothe our hearts and minds. He is God in the flesh. He can do anything. He does nothing but good for us.
Both Psalm 3 and 4 deal with the subject of lack of sleep. People who are stressed out don’t sleep well. Psalm 3 and 4 were written when David was exiled because his own son Absalom had stolen the kingdom. It’s hard to understand how a father and a son could be so opposed to one another. There was so much conflict between them that Absalom wanted to kill his father. That boggles my mind! Family strife can deteriorate badly. Evil can invade our hearts unless guarded by God!
Ps. 3 is a morning Psalm. Ps. 4 is an evening Psalm. How could David sleep when he knew he was in danger? He also knew that God was for him. And that knowledge was even greater than his fears. He knew that God would surround him, sustain him and save him.
David wrote Psalm 4 as he was about to retire for the evening. He couldn’t do much about the war around him, but he could do something about the war within him. Instead of lying in bed fretting, stewing and worrying, he committed himself and his situation to the Lord and received relief.
PROP.- Let’s consider God’s remedy for stress which is God Himself. We need Him. We need more of Him. David asked God, he believed God and he received from God. This is the path of relieving stress. We ask. We believe. We receive.