In all the literature of the ages, the Psalms of the Bible have taken their place in the highest echelon of poetic writings.
These chapters in the divine library have touched the intellect and emotions of humanity throughout the running years.
The human heart identifies with and finds instruction, comfort, hope and help in these God inspired songs. Men in sin, sickness, sorrow, destruction, devastation, distress, trials, tribulations and triumphs have discovered answers to their deep questions and light for their pathway.
The music of these spiritual songs has plucked the heartstrings of hurting, helpless souls and their melodies have set the feet to dancing. Some are songs of the morning looking forward to the challenges of the day. Some describe the activities of the moment. Others are songs of the evening looking back over the day now past. Still others are songs of the darkness of night longing for the dawn to appear.
The fourth Psalm is an evening song. The day has drawn to a close and the singer who began the day in grave circumstances declares that God gave him relief when he was in distress. Now, upon his bed he ponders in his heart the blessings of the day and is silent. People had said that there was no help for him in God. The day proved them wrong. The experiences of the day enabled him to say that God is great. The singer instructs those who are dissatisfied in life to put their trust in the Lord.
He continues: “There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good?’”
That question is as ancient as it is modern. Judging from the pages of the history of man, humanity is one in all ages. There are changes that take place on the great stream of human life but they are only surface changes. The deep things, the underlying things of human life never change. There are changes in ways and means, in manners and methods, but underneath is the same human nature, asking the same old questions, making the same old complaints.
Today humanity is faced with the same problems men grappled with since Adam and Eve were put out of the garden. History repeats itself and throughout the process of the ages the same problems surface again and again. Man attempts to answer them, finds he cannot, and abandons them to sink into the tide and be washed away and forgotten in the waves of time.
The problems reappear and we call them “new,” only to discover there is nothing new under the sun and eventually man finds that, in himself, there is no lasting or satisfying answer.
Who will show us some good? That is the speech of a man who is dissatisfied. Whether he looks back, gazes at the present or peers into the future, he sees nothing but bleak and dreary hopelessness. It is the language of restlessness and emptiness.
Who can show us any good?
The question is being asked today by people in every strata of society. The rich who have “been there and done that”; the poor in the many and varied circumstances of poverty; healthy and ill; successful and failures are all asking that same question.
The very fact that people in such opposite circumstances are all asking the same question indicates that there is some underlying malady that is independent of circumstances and affects them all. Their question is really just another way of asking, “Is life worth living?”
The answer to the question is that God can show us good and with His help we can live a life worth living.
Eddie Bradley is pastor
emeritus at High Way Church.