Read: Psalm 4:1, 3; Psalm 18:3; 2 Timothy 2:19; Nahum 1:7
In distress (as in Psalm 3, probably that caused by Absalom’s rebellion) David considered these spiritual truths which encouraged him:
- v. 1 – David considered that God had previously heard his prayers and relieved his distress (Psalm 18:3).
- v. 3 – David reminded himself that God sets apart the godly for himself.
Think About It: When have I experienced answers to prayer? Am I keeping God’s answers to prayer in such a way that in times of distress I can remind myself of His faithfulness?
The “godly” are in Hebrew the chasid, one of two Hebrew words sometimes translated “saints.” Chasid means “kindly” which is a characteristic of God, so that chasid is sometimes translated “godly”; sometimes it is translated as “saint.” The word chasid is used in the following references: Psalm 30:4; 1 Samuel 2:9; 2 Chronicles 6:41. How do these verses describe the person who is chasid? Do these verses describe me?
Prayer: Lord thank You for Your great faithfulness.
Read: Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19 – 20; Romans 12:19
Besides sound theology, urgent prayer, and a godly example, Psalm 4 contains practical advice for those who find themselves in circumstances like David’s. David advised us to “be angry, and do not sin.”
Think About It: Why didn’t David advise “Do not be angry?” What cause did David have to be angry? When is anger justified? When is anger not justified (e.g. Genesis 4:6 – 7; Jonah 4:4)? What makes me angry? What is my response to God’s question in Jonah 4:4? What are some of the sins to which anger can lead? What does Ephesians 4:26 teach about dealing with anger? How can I deal with anger in a righteous way?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I recognize you as the Lord of all my emotions, including my anger. By your grace, may I be angry only for the right reasons, and please help me to not let my anger lead me into sinful behavior.
Read: Psalm 4:4; Psalm 143:5; Psalm 63:6; Joshua 1:8
David advised that when in distress, we should “ponder” or “meditate” in our hearts upon our beds, and be silent. David used an unusual word for meditation: amar – to utter, to answer. In other places, David’s word for meditation was hagah (Psalm 143:5) – to moan; or siach (repeatedly in Psalm 119) – a complaint, musing. In the Old Testament sense meditation is ruminating (when at rest) about God and His works (Psalm 63:6), and also speaking the words of the Law to oneself, day and night (Joshua 1:8). Because David used the word amar, Psalm 4:4 provides a different perspective on meditation. David advised those feeling angry and in distress to meditate in this sense: 1) don’t answer in public, but consider your answer privately; 2) let your answer (in the Old Testament tradition of meditation) involve considering who God is, what He can do, and what His word says; 3) be still – silence your own answers and let God, His working, and His Word become your answer.
Think About It: Everyone spends time ruminating and thinking about something; in that sense, everyone meditates. What do I meditate about? What helps me meditate about God, His working, and His word? What is the importance of memorizing Scripture in relation to meditation?
Prayer: Lord, please help me turn my thoughts constantly to You, Your workings, and Your word.
Read: Psalm 4:5; Psalm 51:7; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10; Romans 5:2 – 3
David advised that those in distress offer right (righteous) sacrifices. When in distress we need to be sure we are right with the Lord. Whatever the cause of distress, the situation can have a positive impact if it brings us closer to God.
Think About It: David’s righteous sacrifices involved offerings made on the altar in the Tabernacle. What constitutes my righteous sacrifice? What are some occasions when I have been I n distressing circumstances bringing me closer to God?
Prayer: Lord, help me to rejoice even in suffering.
Read: Psalm 4:6; 1 Kings 19:10, 18; Hebrews 12:1
David was encouraged when he remembered that there were many others like him who were looking to God to show them some good and to lift up the light of his face upon them.
Think About It: Why was Elijah so discouraged after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal? How did God encourage Elijah? Do I sometimes feel like the Lone Ranger? What helps me remember that I am not alone in the struggle? Who stands with me?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the communion of the saints.
Read: Psalm 4:7; John 15:11; John 16:24; Romans 5:2 – 5
Often, in David’s psalms, the answer to the prayer of the psalm becomes apparent in the very course of the psalm. Psalm 4 is such a psalm. In verses 1 and 2, David called out to God and expressed the reasons for his distress; in verse 7, he testified that God put joy into his heart.
Think About It: How would I describe the experience of joy? The references for today from John and Romans teach us about the joy we have in the Lord. Has God promised us joy? How can we have this joy? In what circumstances can we experience this joy? Why can we rejoice even in tribulation?
Prayer: Praise the Lord for the gift of joy.
Read: Psalm 4:8; Romans 14:17; John 14:27; 16:23; Colossians 3:15
God also answered David’s prayer by giving him peace, rest, and security.
Think About It: How do non-believers seek peace, rest, and security? Based on the New Testament references for today, how has God provided me with peace, rest, and security? Am I experiencing these blessings God has promised to believers?
Prayer: Praise God for the blessings of peace, rest, and security.