Dealing with Distress: Psalms for the Soul: Psalm 4

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Over the last few days I’ve been meditating on some of the Psalms. Psalm 4 has blessed me greatly.

In this post I’ve included a video-version of the Psalm being sung (Scottish psalter), the Psalm reading, and some brief commentary from the Reformation Study Bible.

Psalm 4 (NIV)

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c]
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble and[d] do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

 

Reformation Study Bible Notes

 Ps. 4 Like Ps. 3, this psalm was composed in distress, and the psalmist exhibits a deep confidence in God. Both psalms meditate on faith in the night (vv. 4, 8). The righteous have nothing to fear, because God hears their prayers and cares for them. The righteous are not without sin, but are in covenant relationship with God.

4:1 Answer me . . . my righteousness. The imperative verbs in this verse show the boldness of the psalmist in prayer. He can fearlessly call on God because he knows that God is his righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

4:2 my honor be turned into shame. It seems that the psalmist is angry at men who turn away from God to serve the false gods of the nations.

vain words. Lit. “empty things.”

seek after lies. The idols of the nations are lies because they don’t really exist; they are the figments of sinful imagination.

4:3 godly. Those who are in covenant with God, the recipients of God’s loving-kindness.

4:4 Be angry, and do not sin. Compare with Eph. 4:26. These are the sacrifices prescribed in Lev. 1–7, offered with a righteous attitude without which all sacrifice or worship is unacceptable (Ps. 40:6–8).

4:6 good. The skeptics taunt that there is nothing good. The psalmist responds to their doubts with an appeal that God would reveal Himself.

light of your face. The phrase resembles the priestly blessing found in Num. 6:25, 26.

4:8 In peace I will . . . lie down. God’s intimate presence allows the psalmist to sleep peacefully and with full confidence. His heart is filled with spiritual blessing.