Unshakable Joy in the Pit of Despair

You have put more joy in my heart then they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:7-8

I went to church camp every summer during high school. The five days at camp would be filled with prayer, devotions, sermons, and other “cabin discussions” about God and his Word. While we certainly had fun, there was ample opportunity to focus on the Lord and to self-reflect. By the end of the week, I was emotionally charged up and devoted to proclaim the gospel to every student at school. Nobody thinks they are more willing to die a martyr’s death or storm the gates of hell than I did as I rode that rickety church bus home from camp.

When you read the words of David in Psalm 4:7-8, you might wonder if he just got back from church camp. He pens these beautiful words declaring his devotion to the Lord and trust in his absolute sovereignty. It seems he’s writing in a time where work was going great and his family doing well, which led to great rejoicing in God’s blessing.

However, when we read the context of the Psalm, we realize that David isn’t writing from “high point” in his life, he’s actually writing from the pit of despair. He’s crying out to the Lord “in distress” (v. 1).

While we know David is going through a tough time, we can’t say for certain what the situation is. Many see Psalm 4 as a continuation of Psalm 3. In Psalm 3, David is fleeing from his son Absalom who has taken over the kingdom causing David to flee Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 15-20). Absalom’s conspiracy was effectively carried out and David was forced off his throne by his own son. To say David was facing difficulty at work and in the family would be an understatement.

It’s in the midst of despair, dishonor, and shame (v. 2) that David pens these beautiful words of devotion and trust in the Lord. How can such beauty come from such pain?

Continue: https://growingingrace.blog/2019/07/08/unshakable-joy-in-the-pit-of-despair/

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