Short Meditations in Psalms: 4.5 Maintaining Godliness (2)
Psa 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.
In verse 3 David had contrasted the unbeliever with the godly who, we said, is what the Christian now is. In verse 4 he warned about a simple practicality in respect of how to remain godly in the face of worries and anxieties and opposition. Now godliness, we said, is all about having a living relationship with the Lord and reflecting His life. David is a realist and knows himself and knows what we are like generally and so he has something else in the back of his mind that he needs to bring out in respect of maintaining godliness.
He is aware of his own potential for failure, for getting it wrong. If we do not have that same awareness, we are living in a make believe world. This side of heaven, on one way or another, you will think wrong, say wrong or do wrong at some time (possibly many times). Be real, this is who you are.
Sometimes I come across or hear of those who are utterly confident in their faith and, failing to understand the reality of it, declare they are perfect, not only in God’s eyes but also in everyday life. Sadly what such people also exhibit is arrogance and lack of humility. They fail to realise that the whole of our remaining years of life will be given over to our gradual change. Let’s use that verse of Paul from 2 Cor now a third time: “being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.” (2 Cor 3:18b). That says we will carry on changing throughout our lives. New challenges will confront us, new potential to trip over our feet, so to speak, and new opportunities to repent!
Now why am I saying all this? I am saying it because David is now reminding us of the way back to God when you fail; he is nudging us back into Leviticus to the sacrificial system that the Lord provided for Israel, so that when they failed, when they sinned, when they got it wrong, there was a clear path back for them. A sign of repentance was to go and offer a sacrifice in the Temple and your sin would be passed to the animal whose life would then be forfeited. It was unpleasant, but then so is sin. It was also short and simple and when you had done it you knew that your sin was dealt with and you were able to be at peace with God again.
“Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD,” he says now. The right sacrifices are those detailed in the Law, and when you had done them, you simply trusted in the Lord, that He would abide by what He had said. It was dealt with. Now in the New Covenant the old sacrifices are replaced by the one-off death of Jesus Christ. When we have sinned and blown it, we repent, confess and turn to the Cross, and trusting what God has said is true – it IS dealt with. End of story, move on.