I cannot ascertain today’s psalm follows chronologically upon the former (Psalm 3); however, the themes of both run parallel in their subject matter. David had found peace and rest in the midst of difficult trials in Psalm 3 and asserted his faith in the LORD. The opening verses of Psalm 4 reflects on the LORD’s faithfulness and answer to David’s prayer in the midst of his enemies (4:1-3).
We continue our study of Psalm 4 focusing on verses 4-8. Having stated his confidence in the LORD (4:1-3), David admonished those who would destroy him:
Psalm 4:4 – “Stand in awe [tremble; shake], and sin not: commune [speak; command] with your own heart [mind; understanding] upon your bed, and be still [silent; quiet]. Selah.”
Paul would write a similar exhortation to Christians in Ephesus when he penned, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26).
I doubt there is one reading this brief devotion that has not experienced the misery of a sleepless night. You tossed and turned in the darkness and quiet of the night. Your heart was heavy, your thoughts scrambled, emotions consumed you and sleep and rest were far from you. Was it hurt, anger or disappointment that haunted your sleep? Had you allowed a slight to overshadow your life? Did you allow anger and bitterness to take hold of your soul? Paul’s exhortation allows that anger will rise up in your heart; however, sin not! Wrestle with your thoughts and work through your emotions, but “commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still” (Psalm 4:4). In other words, be quiet and rest in the LORD!
Psalm 4:5 – Offer [sacrifice] the sacrifices [offerings] of righteousness [right; justice], and put your trust [confidence; security] in the LORD.
If there is an offense love cannot cover, go to your brother, your neighbor and your friend and “tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matthew 18:15-17). As much as is within you, turn your sorrows and disappointments over to the LORD and allow love and grace to cover your hurts.
Psalm 4:6-7 – There be many that say [speak; command], Who will shew [look; see; behold; perceive] us any good [prosperity; favor]? LORD, lift thou up [bear up; exalt] the light of thy countenance [face; presence] upon us. 7 Thou hast put [give; deliver; made] gladness [joy; delight; rejoicing] in my heart [mind; understanding], more than in the time [season] that their corn [wheat; grain] and their wine increased [multiplied].
Having prayed for and exhorted his adversaries to search out their own hearts and turn to the LORD, David’s heart and thoughts took solace in the LORD’s providence and his heart rejoiced (4:6-7)!
Psalm 4:8 – I will both [together] lay me down [lie down; rest] in peace [shalom; i.e. both peace and prosperity], and sleep: for thou, LORD, only [alone] makest me dwell [abide; inhabit; remain] in safety.
Once again we close with the inestimable value of a good night of rest, peace and sleep. A king’s treasury cannot purchase “shalom”, soul peace and prosperity. A president’s aids cannot give him what God alone can supply…rest.
My friend, Americans are using sleep aids in record numbers and much of the population is dependent on prescription drugs to mask the depression and emptiness of their souls. Let’s take a spiritual lesson from David’s life and rest in this truth, “for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety” (4:8)..
David found rest in Psalm 3:5 when he wrote, “I laid me down and slept”. He affirms the same in Psalm 4:8 and testifies, his rest, peace and sleep was from the LORD! I trust you will find the same…in the LORD.
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith