Meditation on Psalm 4

Psalm 4
(NKJV)

To the Chief Musician.
With stringed instruments.
A Psalm of David.

(1)
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have relieved me in my distress;
have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

(2)
How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood?
Selah

(3-8)
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Selah

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.


David talked to God  (1)
David’s insistence that God listen to him was not a brash demand, but rather bold desperation.  The only way out of his problem was to get help from God.  He dialed 911.  “Listen to me, I need help.”  He was familiar enough with God’s character to know that He would listen and would do what was right and just as well as what was gracious and favorable.  Do I know God that well?

David did not remind God, but himself, that God had opened a way for him through tight spots in the past (KJV “enlarged me when I was in distress”).  I am encouraged when I remember all the times God has rescued me from or carried me through personal failures, ministry pressures, financial needs, family crises, and more.

David talked to his enemies (2)
There may be people who design to dishonor, not merely me personally, but what my life and work represent.  Certainly there are evil spirits, the devil and his demons, who plot to defame my Lord by disgracing me.  They should realize what they have an appetite for will never satisfy them.  What they pursue is not even real.  My saying it won’t stop them from trying to harm me, but it sure helps me to remember how futile their efforts are.

David talked to himself (3-8)
David overcame several emotional, mental, and spiritual problems.  Many people battle one or more of these every day.  He controlled how he thought and felt.  You can get through a lot of problems by learning to counsel yourself.  Rather than popping pills or curling up in a fetal position and withdrawing from life’s responsibilities and challenges, David purposefully directed his thoughts. You and I can too.

I am identifying these problems and presenting them in the form of a remedy.  The word which indicates the problem he addressed is underlined.  A few thoughts accompany each one.

Remedy for doubt
Know
that God has set apart him that is godly for Himself.

Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David – “set apart” – The fact that you are set apart “as God’s own peculiar treasure should give you courage and inspire you with fervency and faith . . . Since he chose to love us he cannot but choose to hear us.”

Note – “him [or her] that is godly” – godly is Heb. hasid – faithful, loyal; cf. Jewish Hassidim – the faithful ones

I don’t think this means that God doesn’t hear me any time I fall short of perfect faithfulness.  It is describing loyalty to God as a way of life. Cf. Rom 8:28 – “all things work together for good to them that love God” doesn’t require perfect love, but loving God as a way of life.

The Lord will hear when I call on Him.

I have heard a radio commercial for an insurance company in which the announcer promises that callers will always get a live person rather than a recorded voice giving push-button options.  Without irreverence, I am confident that I am talking to God live when I call Him!  I’m glad God listens to me.  I’m amazed, too.

Remedy for anger
Be angry, and do not sin.

Be angry for the right reasons.  Do not be controlled by anger.  Do not remain angry.

Paul repeated and expanded on this in Ephesians 4:26-27: Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Reacting in anger puts the object of your anger in control of your thoughts and emotions.

Remedy for agitation
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Sometimes Restless Leg Syndrome keeps me from falling asleep at night.  Sometimes Restless Brain Syndrome does also.  I can quiet my mind and heart by directing my thoughts to what I know to be true about God.  It works!

Remedy for depression
You have put gladness in my heart

The Hebrew word for “gladness” means being joyful with one’s whole personality and character.  This gladness is not a smile that you paste on or a pretense that you put on.  It is real, springing from the heart and spreading throughout the life.  It is not based on circumstances (increase of oil and wine), but comes directly from God.

Remedy for anxiety
I will lie down in peace

All is as it should be.  I can go to bed, knowing God will keep the world spinning.  He will push the ocean back and forth, crank the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun another time.  He’ll feed the birds and water the flowers.  He will solve the problems I can’t.  He will be there when I wake up.

Remedy for insomnia
and sleep

/ – )

 

The turning point
Put your trust in the LORD.

I see over and over through the Psalms that David cried out and complained about his personal failures and fierce foes.  There is a turning point in almost every Psalm in which David describes these problems.  He “puts his trust in the Lord.”  Telling myself, or someone else, to “trust the Lord” is not merely reciting a platitude.  Deciding to rely only and wholly on God is the answer.  It’s where despair ends, and where real security (“safety”) lies.

2 thoughts on “Meditation on Psalm 4”

  1. Thanks Pastor!
    What a great tool to use along with my devotions. Today’s blog is a real encouragement to my heart!

  2. Hi Pastor,
    This is great. Since I usually interpret the messages, sometimes I get consumed with the sentences or phrases that I’m trying to interpret and don’t see the forest through the trees, and of course, I’m not able to take notes. So this will be really helpful to me.

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