The title of this psalm indicates it was a song of worship and was assigned to the “chief musician”. Continuing in the same distress we found in Psalm 3 (David’s flight from his enemies), this psalm is David’s prayer and reflects on the mercies of God he has enjoyed in the past (4:1).
Psalm 4:1 – “Hear [answer; respond; reply] me when I call [call out; invoke thy name], O God of my righteousness [uprightness; justice]: thou hast enlarged [relieved; broadened; made room] me when I was in distress [troubled; afflicted; lit. in a tight place]; have mercy [be gracious; show pity and favor] upon me, and hear [hearken; listen] my prayer [supplication].”
Every believer who has ever found themselves in a “tight place” when pressures and distresses were growing can identify with David’s prayer for God to hear his prayer. David’s request for God to hear and answer his prayer is not grounded on his right to be heard, but in God’s nature as a God of mercy and grace. It is not David’s righteousness, but the righteousness imparted to him by God that affords him the opportunity to cry out to God (Titus 3:5).
Having prayed to God, David addresses his enemies.
Psalm 4:2 – “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory [honor; reputation] into shame [disgrace; reproach]? how long will ye love vanity [emptiness; a worthless thing], and seek [require; desire; strive after] after leasing [lies; deceit]? Selah.”
Confronting his enemies, David identifies the sorrows he has borne from men who slighted his integrity and reproached his testimony. He was the target of smears and verbal attacks and the people, his people, were all too willing to entertain the lies of his enemies and turn against God’s anointed.
Psalm 4:3 – “But know [perceive; understand; recognize] that the LORD hath set apart [separated; severed; marked out; made a distinction] him that is godly [saint; gracious] for himself: the LORD will hear [hearken; listen] when I call [call out; cry] unto him.”
Though he finds no comfort in his circumstances, David takes solace in this–he is God’s chosen. Though rejected by men, God has set him apart for Himself. He is God’s man and the Lord will hear and answer his prayer in His time!
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith