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?
Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
Tremble and 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.
Psalm 4 is a companion to Psalm 3 as they have a similar theme of trusting God in difficult circumstances, one to be sung in the morning, one in the evening.
In this psalm, David yet again laments his situation where he is being persecuted and slandered by his enemies. He knows he has been chosen by God and anointed to do great things, but he has been robbed of all his glory and honor. Undoubtedly, much of the blame rested on David’s own shoulders because of his sordid affair with Bathsheba and the ensuing murder of her husband. But people love to see greatness tarnished, and many took delight in his failures as man and king and hurled insult upon injury.
This psalm is a reminder of how men whom God calls to greatness are still human and struggle with sin. It is also a reminder that sin has consequences, and although David repented bitterly for what he had done, he still had to deal with the effects of his transgressions. Before his encounter with Bathsheba, he went from triumph to triumph. After it happened, his life was fraught with pain and betrayal.
However, David believed that God would restore what the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25) because God was faithful to his promises. So, he follows his lamentations with an acknowledgment of the grace of God that will see him rest peacefully in slumber. “In peace,” he sings, “I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
We might have succumbed to temptation too and are reaping the consequences of our actions, but let us accept them in humility as God disciplining his beloved. The author of the letter to the Hebrews writes: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11). So let us accept correction humbly and look forward to be blessings that will surely follow.
God be with you.