Have you ever been unjustly criticized, wrongly understood, pursued by someone who wanted to harm or ruin your reputation, or fired from a job or ministry? King David understands.
If asked, I suspect many people who say they love the Psalms say so because of the upbeat expressions of faith in God and His provisions for His people. This is undeniable. Yet, many of these Songs of Jesus (Luke 24:44) contain laments. Aren’t you thrilled God invites us to lament as well as praise? Psalm 4 resides in a group of laments in Psalms 3-17. Follower of Christ: You can pray this prayer.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! // O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah // But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. // Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah // Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. //
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” // You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. // In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 captures my heart because David had not done anything wrong. There is low hanging but unspeakably flavorful fruit here for the follower of Christ.
First, there is the reality of spiritual warfare. David acknowledges tests to faith but he remembers, “You have given me relief.” Second, the access we have to God to speak straightforwardly is rich. Tim Keller notes prayer is a conversation with God that He has already started in His Word. Can you, with David, say “Answer me when I call”? Third, more riches: Our security is “the LORD has set apart the godly…the LORD hears.” Fourth, how all-encompassing to our sanity and relief and worship is the undergirding possibility, “You have given me more joy in my heart than…[anything earth life can offer].” God is not an ogre; He is a joy giver.
The last verse pulls this song “with stringed instruments” together. It contrasts life without God with a trusting, honest, worshipping, deep contentment through the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit. In a word: “peace” (Cf. Romans 5:1f). Unwarranted attacks, insults, and opposition will come. We have God.
Innocent even beyond David’s guiltlessness in Psalm 4, Jesus’ lament in the Garden of Gethsemane became the agony of the cross for us. How great His cost for our vindication.
Won’t you trust Him for life now and forever?