1 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. 2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah
3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. 4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD. 6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. 7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 – Blessing through praying
(Verse 1) We pray naturally when in danger or distress. A Welsh miner, caught in a terrible pit collapse, told me ‘I saw no atheists down the pit that day. They all prayed!’ David knows exactly why he is praying: an answer from his ‘righteous God’, relief from distress in his oppression by others who want to bring him down in shame, and God’s ongoing mercy for his ongoing sins. (He is sinful, just like you and me.) If you know Jesus, live for Him. Pray in His name and for His glory. Expect His faithful answers, grace, relief and mercy.
(Verses 2-3) Ungodly men seek to shame others, follow delusions and adopt ‘false gods’ instead of God Himself. We can slide into the same idolatry. Our gods may be dumb, deaf and lifeless idols. Often, they are money, ambition, pastime, pleasure, sport, self, or a person. All who know God are different. David belongs to God and knows God hears his calls on Him. If you know Jesus, set aside daily time to pray.
(Verses 4-5) Like David, all trusting the LORD control anger and search their hearts (even when thinking things through while in bed) to be sure they are forgiven and cleansed. They offer ‘right sacrifices’ to God. That marks out those trusting the LORD. The best ‘sacrifice’ to offer now is Jesus as sacrifice for us when He shed His blood for us, as He bore our sins and was punished on the cross to save us eternally. That is how He bought us back from sin.
(Verses 6-7) Some boastfully doubt or sinfully deny God exists. Others claim God cannot do any good. David prays for the light of God’s face to shine on his fellow believers and himself. He recalls how God filled his heart with far more joy than when unbelievers benefit from lucrative and fruitful harvests, and enjoy their food and drink, no doubt at times in wild parties that flout God’s laws and ridicule the Lord providing their food. God means less to them than the food and drink He provides for godly and ungodly alike.
(Verse 8) Yet even as David faces enemies of both God and himself, he sleeps in peace and trusts the Lord for the result. God gives him peace and safety. God gives a believer in Christ peace with God, and the peace of God in his heart. If opposed, persecuted and even if martyred for Jesus, anyone trusting in Christ will be kept safe for and in Heaven. Jesus has prepared him, or her, a place there with Him forever.