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Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2024 12:00 am

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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January 2, 2024 12:00 am

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The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of The Truth Pulpit.

We're so glad that you joined us. And I know that many of you have recently signed up for the podcast looking for the series that I told you about called Building a Christian Mind, and that series is going to start on February the 5th. February the 5th for Building a Christian Mind. Until then, here's the next episode of our teaching as we look to God's Word and as we continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word on The Truth Pulpit. What we want to do is understand how David got to that place of confidence, how he moved from his difficulties into that place of assurance in the person of God. Thanks for joining us on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hi, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series As the Calendar Turns, with part two of a message titled Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Last time, Don presented two things to keep in mind if you want to sleep peacefully in the new year or any year. Appeal to God with confidence, and then assess your enemies with clarity, remembering that God is sovereign over all, including any adversaries. On today's program, we'll get a third principle for thought, directing us to the peace that only God can offer. So have your Bible open once again to Psalm 4 as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. Now, what you have to do in your sorrow, difficulty when people are lying about you and misrepresenting you and doing all kinds of things to make life unpleasant, not only personally, as you look on a world of increasing ungodliness and religious deception, you step back from all of that and you remind yourself that your God still reigns even though it has pleased him to let you be troubled for a period of time. Whatever else is happening, as godlessness takes greater root, not only in our world, but in the so-called evangelical church, whatever else is happening, Psalm 1 6 still prevails. The Lord knows the way of the righteous, knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

That is an impossible principle to violate. Nothing, when it's all said and done, will contradict that one main fact. And so, you take that one guiding principle and you remember that God still reigns. And God, if I'm going to suffer here for a little while, I'm willing to receive that and accept that. I'm willing to submit to the wisdom of your providence in it because I know that ultimately your blessing will be manifest upon my life either now or in eternity. Either way, the outcome is good for me and therefore the harshness and the sorrow of the present circumstances are mitigated substantially. You think through that in terms of how it applies to you and then you look at those who are assuming wickedly opposing you and you realize this can't come out good for them.

There's no way that this has a good outcome for them. And so, David, with that same principle in mind, look back at verse 2, says, how long are you going to continue in that? How long are you going to love what is worthless and aim at deception?

How long are you going to beat yourself in the head with a hammer? You're ruining yourself, not me. And as you pray that way, you remember that you were once like them too. But for the grace of God upon you, that would be the direction of your life as well. And now, the beauty of this psalm is that David is not praying that with a sense of vindictiveness, but with confidence and even an appeal for the spiritual welfare of his own enemies. Look at verse 3. He says, but no, he's giving them an imperative. You need to know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for himself. The Lord hears when I call to him. You may think that you're getting the upper hand here, but you need to step back and realize, particularly in David's situation as God's anointed king, God has set me apart for himself.

You can't get away with this. Don't you see that this ends in your own destruction? So cease from your foolishness.

You're ultimately slitting your own throat with what you're doing. Because God is for me, God has set me apart, and he's telling them that the power of this is just immense. He is telling them as they are opposing him, you should reorient your entire life.

You need to completely rethink your life paradigm because you're going the wrong direction and it cannot come out well for you. Instead of attacking me, you should fear God and the inevitable consequences of your rebellion. Look at verse 4. He says, tremble and do not sin. He's speaking to those sons of men who are opposing him. This is not directed to the godly man who is later reading the psalm, trying to go to sleep in peace at night. This is his appeal to those who are opposing him. He tells them, tremble and do not sin.

Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. What is he saying? He's trying to wake them up. He's saying, wake up in your arrogant opposition to the people of God. You need to realize that you are just storing up wrath for yourself. You need to tremble. You need to fear God. You need to repent and manifest that by turning away from this sinful course that you are pursuing. And as they're laying down in their bed, he speaks to their conscience and he says, if you would just think about this in the quietness of your own bed, if you would stop the evil agitations of your heart long enough to stop enough to think about what I'm saying, you would see that what I'm telling you is the truth. It is a very direct, clear rebuke and call to repentance upon those who are opposing him. He says, meditate in your heart. In other words, engage this with all of your being.

You see that salah at the end of verse four. Our message to a sinful world. Is that we're not intimidated by your increasing ungodliness. All the more we're strengthened and deepened in our conviction of the righteousness of our God, the righteousness of our cause and the truth of what we believe. The more you pound the hammer on the anvil, the more we are strengthened in our confidence in God, our confidence in truth, our confidence in Christ, our confidence in the gospel.

The more you push against it, it's just like wind under our wings that causes us to fly higher and more nobly than ever before. And our message to them is no, we're not frightened far from bending to your ungodliness. All the more we stand up straight and call on you to repent once more. You need to tremble. You need to fear God. Your very vicious behavior is the very proof that you need that you need to repent. Your opposition to all things scriptural and biblical and the people of God is the mark and the seeds of your own destruction. Oh, won't you please tremble and fear God in light of it? You'll see it, David says, if you'll just think about it silently on your bed. If you'll just meditate on what you have heard. So, stop, be still and listen. And as he addresses his enemies, he's also strengthening his own soul. He's strengthening his own audience of those that hear him. We should see as he addresses the enemies of God, we should see in that are another another stream flowing into our river of confidence. It says, yeah, that's right.

Of course, they're going to be destroyed. What am I afraid of? Why do I tremble in front of this?

Why do I get agitated over this? The outcome is obvious. It doesn't matter who's ahead in the fourth inning.

What matters is who's ahead after the third out in the ninth. And I know who comes out ahead in the plan of God. It's the people of God. And I'm with the people of God.

I belong to the God who reigns. I am not afraid. And beloved, we're just going to need this line of thinking more and more in the days and the years that lie ahead as the opposition to Christ and his church becomes more and more open and flagrant and even violent. We must embrace these things. We must learn to think this way. We must learn to pray this way now while we have a time of comparative peace so that we are ready when we have to engage the conflict. This is our life blood for a church in persecution.

This is where the martyrs found their courage to stand while they were being burned at the stake. An utter, unshakable confidence in the reigning purposes of a supreme God. We of all people should be exhausted of and see through the emptiness of political solutions to the problems of our culture, right?

There is no relief there. And I think part of the reason that God has allowed the church to suffer and has allowed wicked people to prosper in this is one of the primary lessons for us as the people of God to take out of that is that we never should have been putting our trust in those mechanisms to begin with. And now that we see that they're futile and now that we're on the receiving end of the minority status, now we come back to where we never should have departed. We come back to our character of God and we get rooted in where the real confidence is to begin with. And the adverse circumstances become that which drive us back to the truth of our trustworthy God. And we find in that our confidence and our peace and realize that that was far superior than any political solution that was ever offered to us. And shame... well, I won't go there. You'll just have to guess because wisdom sometimes is found in keeping your mouth shut and that's what I'm going to do right now. Let's not get too far from the text.

Now look at verse five. I know you're all dying to know. I'm sorry. You know, look, I was a political science major.

I was engaged in politics as a young man. You go through all of that and you just realize it's empty. It has nothing to offer the Christian church. There is nothing in that that helps our cause. There is nothing in that that advances the gospel. There is nothing in that that can do anything but alienate the very people that we're trying to win.

It's a false hope that politics can change the orientation. Only a sweeping revival born out of the Holy Spirit can answer the ills that we see all around us in the headlines day by day. And look, part of what re-emphasizes that here in Psalm 4 for us is recognizing that David is speaking this way as the king. He is speaking as the anointed of God with the majesty and authority of the throne. And he's not exercising his political prerogatives. He's appealing on a spiritual basis to his enemies. We anonymous Christians in the system, if David did that, how much more should we?

Right? It's okay. You can nod and agree, even if you don't. Pretend that you do.

Alright, I'm glad to get that off my chest. David is still appealing to his enemies in verse 5. He tells them, offer the sacrifices of righteousness and trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord. It's a call on his enemies to repent and receive mercy from the God of Israel. David is doing something remarkable here. As people are lying about him and undermining his reign, he is appealing to them to be reconciled to God. He was not vindictive. He was not addressing them in anger. He would have them repent if only they would.

His heart was pure and gracious. This helps us frame our own disposition in the face of our own hostilities that are on the receiving end of. Beloved, what this Psalm 4 is teaching us, the spiritual ground that it's calling us to, is lofty.

It is high. It is rarified air that we are breathing in as we read this Psalm. Because you see David responding, not with fear toward those who oppose him, not with anger against those who are lying about him. He sees them as men in need of repentance and he gives them the gospel presentation, repent and be reconciled to God. I'm meddling in my own life right now with those things to say.

This is more than help in our personal lives that it gives us. This frames the way we look at a wicked world. Beloved, we've got to stop being angry Christians. We've got to stop being fearful Christians and afraid of what people are going to do to take away what we've got. We're not to be angry. We're not to be anxious. We're to be confident and we are to ever have that reconciling message of the gospel, repent and be saved.

Be saved from this perverse generation. And it's a sober message, but it's a true message and it's an honest message and it is a clear message. The more that our enemies pound against us with sinful weapons, the more that we respond, you need to fear God and repent.

I'm not angry. I'm not afraid. I'm telling you the truth for the sake of your own soul. That's the mindset with which we address the world. Our message is far more sober than, oh, do you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?

This is far more sober than that. David says, tremble and do not sin. He's telling them to fear God. Our message that we graciously communicate is your worthless passions and the deceptions that you pursue lead you to destruction.

And as much as you may hate me for saying it, I don't want that for you. I invite you to repent. You should fear God while he is still extending a gracious offer of mercy to you. And so David appeals to God with confidence. He assesses his enemies with clarity. Final point, you acknowledge your trust with peace.

You acknowledge your trust with peace. Look at verses six through eight now. David knows that even his supporters are discouraged by what's going on around. Perhaps you can identify with the somewhat despairing plea that's expressed at the beginning of verse six.

Many are saying, who will show us any good? I'm so tired of the conflict. I'm so tired of this weight. Is anything good ever going to come out of it? You know, it has been years for me.

If that's you, I can relate by past life experience. And what you see here in verse six, if you're a believer weighed down like that, is not the rebuke of God upon that. But again, the call, a gracious call to higher ground. Here finally in verse six, David expresses his prayer. He identifies with those who are saying, who will show us any good? David says he speaks up now and addresses God. And here's his request.

Simple, like we saw last week. He says, Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. Lift up the light of your countenance.

In other words, show your favor to us. That's all we need, God. We just need you to sprinkle some mercy here and all will be well.

I don't have to give you a detailed prescription of how to deal with everything. God, I'm just going to pray more generally. I'm going to pray in that which would cover everything. Lift up your countenance. Give us your blessing.

Turn back to Numbers chapter six where there's an echo. This passage in Psalm four is an echo of this benediction that you see in Numbers chapter six and will help us have a sense of the spirit of what's being said here. Number six, verse 24. The Lord blessed us and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace.

God, show your protection. Give us your provision. Bless our hearts with your peace. All of that is wrapped up in that request in verse six. Lord, lift up your countenance upon us. Just pull back the veil and let us see your grace and blessing on our lives.

That's all we need. And the resulting peace of answering that request, he says in verse seven, would be better than any external blessing that God could give. Once again, once again, the Psalms refute the prosperity gospel in verse seven. David says, you have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and new wine abound. He said, Lord, Lord, to have the peace that comes from knowing you and being confident in you is better than a bumper crop. It's better than abundant provision all around me. Charles Spurgeon said, Christ in the heart is better than corn in the barn.

That's right. That's how much we must love Christ. That's how sweet he is. That is how precious he is that we would look and say, if all is well with me, with Christ, then that is better than any earthly prosperity I could ever have. Better to have Christ than to have everything else. That's the spirit of what David is praying. David says, Lord, if I can have an assured sense of your presence, that will make me happier than they are when their barns are overflowing. When they have all that they need and want to eat and want to eat and so much more. Lord, then in all of their houses on Malibu Beach.

Lord, they can have that superficial stuff. If I have your peace. If you would renew the sense of your presence deep in my heart.

I prefer that I value that than anything this world has to offer. Is that where you're at spiritually tonight? Do you love Christ like that? Would you trade peace with Christ for some other earthly thing or earthly relationship? If you're willing to exchange Christ for something else, you need to get alone with God in the scriptures because the true believer sees the surpassing value of Christ and realize nothing compares and prefers him to all else.

And some of you I know have paid supreme prices for Christ. Take heart in this and share in that same joy that David had. So where does all of that leave us? Verse eight, we come back where we started the message out. Having worked his way through all of this spiritually in the presence of God.

Now he's done. Now night time can arrive and he says in verse eight, in peace I will both lie down and sleep for you alone. Notice the word alone.

He's not relying on anything else or anyone else. You alone, oh Lord, make me to dwell in safety. I've got all I need to sleep tonight. You have all you need as a Christian to rest well tonight.

You don't need anything to change of that which has troubled you. Rather, you appeal to God and you sleep in peace. David says, I don't need anything else, God, if you're going to keep and protect me. Watch this, the opposition of man, oh God, does not disturb my peace. The travail of difficult circumstances does not cause me to fail to slumber because God, in you, I have all I need. In Christ alone, my hope is found. Is that where your heart's resting tonight? Can you enter into the spirit of Psalm 4?

What happens to you when you lie down to sleep? That's the measure of spiritual life from Psalm 4. Our peace comes from knowing God as he reveals himself through scripture. Even if our earthly circumstances seem negative, we know the final outcome will be glorious.

So rest in that peace today. Pastor Don Green will continue our series as the calendar turns next time on The Truth Pulpit, so be sure to be with us then. Well, the year may be changing soon, but our helpful website remains. And we invite you to visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library, thetruthpulpit.com. And if you want to go even more in depth, you'll also find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons, not subject to the time editing needed for radio broadcasts. And if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out our service times at Truth Community Church. That's also on our website. And plan a visit because we'd love to welcome you. I'm Bill Wright. Thank you for joining us today. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 04:48:39 / 2024-01-02 04:57:24 / 9

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