Tuesday, August 17, 2021

2021.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 4:3–8

Read Psalm 4:3–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom has the Lord set apart (Psalm 4:3a)? For Whom? Who hears when David calls to Him (verse 3b)? What does this enable David to do without sinning (Psalm 4:4a)? Where/how does he practice this calling upon the Lord (verse 4b)? With what effect? What does he offer to the Lord (Psalm 4:5a)? What is one way that he “offers the sacrifices of righteousness” (verse 5b)? What do many say (Psalm 4:6a–b)? To Whom does David look for good (verse 6c)? How does he ask Him for that good? What has the Lord done to make David glad (Psalm 4:7a)? Whose gladness couldn’t compare to this, and even under what circumstances (verse 7b)? As David completes this meditation (cf. Psalm 4:4b), what is he able to do (Psalm 4:8a)? Why; what has he concluded (verse 8b)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Psalm 4:3–8, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with On the Good and Faithful

The psalmist (David) is in distress (Psalm 4:1), and under the attack of others. In Psalm 4:3, he establishes a foundation against three types of wrong response to our distresses: fuming (Psalm 4:4), unbelief (Psalm 4:5), and despair (Psalm 4:6). 

How firm a foundation! Psalm 4:3Psalm 4:8. If the godly got that way because Yahweh chose them for Himself (Psalm 4:3a), then their safety (Psalm 4:8b) and happiness are unstoppably secure. Something that began in the Creator cannot be undone by anything in the creation. This is peace in which you can sleep easy (verse 8a). So, when this is your foundation, instead of responding in the ways that Psalm 4:4-6 warn against, you can just call upon Yahweh (Psalm 4:3b) and tap into great, circumstance-independent joy (Psalm 4:6-7).

Watch out for fumingPsalm 4:4. Sometimes in our distress, we can get consumed with fuming. You’ll know it’s happening when you’ve lain down to sleep, but your mind is just full of all the stuff you’re upset about, or would like to say to the people involved, or even do to the people involved. But when you’re on your bed is the perfect time to call upon Yahweh (Psalm 4:3b); you can just speak to Him in your heart and then be quiet (Psalm 4:4b). Knowing His nearness helps put the “not sinning” into our being angry (verse 4a).

Watch out for unbeliefPsalm 4:5. When we’re in distress, there’s the temptation to obsessively plan our path out. There’s nothing wrong with careful consideration of what is best, but trusting Yahweh (verse 5b) gives us the aim of such consideration: whatever is righteous. If we realize that our behavior is really a form of life-as-worship unto Him, because He is the One in Whose perfectly reliable hands we rest anyway, then that changes the goal. No longer are we frantically trying to make the situation resolve. Instead, we are offering righteousness to Him Whom we know will perfectly resolve it.

Watch out for despairPsalm 4:6. Distressing situations in life can be very intense, and even long and drawn out. In such a situation we can be tempted to ask, “Who will show us any good?” We can even begin to have a negative attitude about anything good that Providence brings into the situation. But if the Lord is our sure hope, then we have reason for gladness: the light of His face (verse 6c) puts gladness into our hearts (Psalm 4:7a). The wicked’s very best circumstances actually have less cause for joy in them than the godly’s very worst circumstances (verse 7b)!

So in our distress, let us cry out to the God of our righteousness and have peace and joy, rather than fuming, unbelief, or despair.

What distress have you been in? How does following this Psalm change your approach to it?

Sample prayer: O God of our righteousness, You alone make us to dwell in safety. And we know that You will, because You have saved us for Yourself. Forgive us for when we have been unmindful of You as we obsessed about circumstances. Grant that our hearts would always be lifted up to You, and that they would be full of gladness from the light of Your face, which we ask through Jesus, in Whom You have everlastingly smiled upon us, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH484 “On the Good and Faithful”

No comments:

Post a Comment