Enlargement, in the way we speak of it in this message, has to do with our relationship with the Lord. John the Baptist said, He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). We are enlarged when more of God comes into our lives. And it is our decreasing, emptying out of self, that makes room for more of Him in our lives.
Psalm 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Hear me when I call, O God. Have you had times when you wondered if God heard your prayers? Have there been times when you didn’t know for sure if He heard you or if you would receive the petition you have desired of Him? It is important that we pray with faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6. There must be no doubt mixed in our prayers. Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. James 1:6-7.
It is possible for you to have complete confidence that God has heard your prayer, and that you will have the petition you have desired of Him. Your flesh nature will war against you and your prayers. Nevertheless, there is a prayer that God always hears and always responds to. It is always the will of God for you to be enlarged in Him. It is always His will for you to grow spiritually. It is always His will for you to draw closer to Him. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. I John 5:14-15.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness. This is most important: He is our Righteousness! We do not have any righteousness apart from Him. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10. The Lord is our righteousness and regardless of how spiritual we become, He remains so. That is true for everyone. If we have any righteousness, we received it by Him being in us. We cannot boast about it. What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? I Corinthians 4:7. DuBose translation: What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you had it all along? It is common for Christians to think more highly of themselves than they ought to. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness.
Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress. The enlargement, the spiritual growth, took place during a time of distress. The Hebrew word for “distress” is tsar, which means a narrow or strait place. It is also translated “tribulation” as in Deuteronomy 4:30.
There is a popular teaching of a tribulation period of 3 ˝ or of 7 years following a rapture of all Christians. That teaching has caused many to miss the will of God for their lives. Even the rapture theory is full of holes. The truth of the matter is that all real advancement in God is preceded by tribulation. In Matthew 3:2 John the Baptist preached saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When Jesus came out of the wilderness of His temptation, He began His ministry by saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). When Jesus sent His disciples out on their first ministry trip, He told them, saying, “As ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). The Kingdom has been available for entrance since that time. Then in Acts 14:22 the Apostle Paul said, “We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.” You cannot enter a Kingdom relationship with the Lord God without going through tribulation. Also, it is not a one-time deal. There are many levels or realms of the Kingdom. As you grow and mature in your relationship with the Lord, you pass through many realms of glory. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18. Each realm or glory of the Kingdom you enter is preceded by tribulation.
Now why is it necessary to experience tribulation? Why is tribulation your passport into the Kingdom of God? It is because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption (I Corinthians 15:50). The flesh nature of man (Christian and non-Christian) is corrupt. Your flesh nature not only will not subject itself to the Lord, it cannot, for it is impossible to do so. The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:7. There must a nature change! That is what it means to be born of God. Being forgiven doesn’t mean that you are born again of God. It simply means that you are forgiven. Your flesh nature is still corrupt, and your flesh nature cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
You will not war against your flesh nature and reckon it dead until you have been put in a strait place where you have no choice. You have to learn how to commit the sin of self to a death on the cross, and that strait place is tribulation. Tribulation precedes the Kingdom; you can’t enter in without going through tribulation. Tribulation is not to be shunned; it is necessary for your salvation. Remember this: There is no advancement in God without some elimination of self.
Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress. It was while the Israelites were in the iron furnace of distress and tribulation that they were prepared to become a people of inheritance. The Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day. Deuteronomy 4:20. Then later in this same chapter Moses explained to them that tribulations would come to turn them to the Lord when they got off course. When thou art in tribulation (tsar, the same word translated distress in our opening verse), and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee… Deuteronomy 4:30, 31. Do you see? It is His mercy that brings tribulation to keep us on course.
“Thou hast enlarged Me when I was in distress” also speaks of the enlargement of Christ because of His distress on the cross. Christ the individual became the many-membered Christ. Because of His tribulation we are incorporated in Him, making us children of God. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:16-18. Tribulation is a necessary ingredient for the creation of the Body of Christ. Even as individuals there is no growth in the Lord without tribulations.
Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. This prayer is made by the one who knows he is enlarged when in distress. He prays for the mercy that will bring him to and through the tribulations of enlargement, for he knows that is how the Lord creates the godly who are set apart for Himself. But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call unto Him (Psalm 4:3).
Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose