For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
On the Fourth day of September, here’s Psalm 4:
1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
What is this Psalm about?
This is an interesting Psalm as it begins with the Psalmist crying out to God – then, for some reason, remembering aspects of what it means to be obedient to God, before ending with a seemingly rather prosaic peaceful acknowledgement of sleep – echoing, perhaps, Psalm 3. Further, I think this Psalm is about communicating with God – a two way street, as it were.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
Perhaps the most striking thing that this Psalm teaches us is that God hears. This is not a distant, disconnected God. This is a God who hears. Psalm 4 also teaches us that God creates safety, prosperity and peace. This is a God who acts.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
In a time where we can feel distant from God, where obedience to God’s words and ways seems fleeting and rare, and where the myriad troubles of life press in, Psalm 4 cuts through the noise. Verse 4 and 5 offer instruction, verse 6 resonates with a normal human concern, and verses 7 and 8 take that concern and turn it into a reminder of who God is and what he is like.
A Prayer from Psalm 4
Lord, answer me. Lord, relieve my distress. Lord, have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Help me not to sin, search my heart and help me to trust in you. Fill my heart, Lord, that I might find peace and rest in you. Amen.