When You Are Distressed
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Being a believer in Christ does not exempt a person from distress.  The word "distress" means narrow or a tight place or trouble.  It also means adversary, foe, enemy, or oppressor.  Thus distress speaks of the pressure of attack from circumstances, people, or the devil, with consequent anguish and anxiety.  In colloquial English, it is being Abetween a rock and a hard place.@  But when we are Aup against a wall@ or we get Ain a jam,@ we can learn from David in Psalm 4 (NAS) how to walk through distress in God=s peace.

While under attack (perhaps while on the run during Absalom= s rebellion), David calls out to God.  He remembers that, in the past, AThou hast relieved me in my distress@ (vs. 1).  People who loved lies were reproaching his honor (vs. 2) and insinuating that there was no hope for him (vs. 6).  Thus David encourages himself in the Lord against fear and unbelief.

He reminds himself that when he calls, God answers, because God is righteous (vs. 1) and because God has set the godly man apart for Himself (vs. 3; see I Peter 2:9-10).  Therefore, David instructs his own heart to wait on the Lord:

Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord (vs.4-5).

ATremble@ (Astand in awe@BKJV) may signify the proper fear of the Lord (see Psalm 99:1 and Jeremiah 33:9).  But the word means Ato quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear).@  Here it may express David=s natural reactions to being attacked, including excitation, perturbation, agitation, anger, or rage, as well as fear.  [Some commentators believe it is these words of David, Atremble, and do not sin,@ which are are quoted by Paul in Ephesians 4:26 (ABe angry, and do not sin....@ )].

Thus David determines not to give in to the impulses of his flesh when under attack.  Rather, he instructs himself to Ameditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.@  AMeditate@ simply means say or speak.  So David speaks to himself to be in faith and not react.  He offers Athe sacrifices of righteousness,@ which is done by lifting a Abroken and a contrite heart@ to God (Psalm 51:17).  He voices thanksgiving and praise, which are the fitting responses to a righteous Savior who has made us righteous (see Isaiah 61:10).  And he actively trusts God. (See also Psalm 37:1-11).

Handling his distress this way, David experiences Agladness in my heart@ (vs. 7) and Apeace@ (vs. 8).  He is able to Alie down and sleep@ undisturbed, being confident that God is making him Adwell in safety@ as He undertakes for David against his enemies.

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