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Psalm 4





Although the heading of this Psalm does not directly state it, most believe that this Psalm was written in response to Absalom’s rebellion against his father, David.  As David opens this Psalm he is begging God to answer his prayer.  Because God’s knows everything, He must necessarily hear everything.  That means that God hears everything word we speak or think.  He hears the words of every prayer regardless of whether that prayer comes from one of His own or one that doesn’t acknowledge Him.

We can always rest assured that God hears us when we pray.  The issue is God’s answering when we pray.  When God answers our prayers, He does so because He is righteous.  And because He is righteous, He necessarily does the right thing, every time.  But God is under no mandate to answer every prayer.  In fact, one of the qualifications for His answering prayer is the righteousness of the one praying.

The Bible is clear that none of us is righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10).  However, when you give your life to Jesus there is an imputed or given righteousness that comes with that salvation.  The Bible speaks of the great transaction that Jesus completed:  “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)  Our righteousness is the result of Jesus’ completed work on the cross and is given to us.  It is through this lens of Jesus’ righteousness that God not only sees us but also hears us and responds to us.

Now back to our Psalm.  As David prays he says that God had given him relief.  In the original language this refers to a continuous action.  David had been experiencing God’s relief and help and because he had been, he had confidence that he would continue to experience that.

Verse 2 contrasts God’s perfect righteousness with the character of men.  David speaks of their trying to ruin his reputation.  He says they were making groundless accusations and speaking lies about him.

In verse 3, David turns his attention back to God.  David has little to fear from men who would go to great lengths to destroy him.  Instead he is relying on the Lord who has set David apart as an object of His covenantal love.  (By the way, Christ followers today are objects of God’s covenantal love.)  David has great confidence that God is close and He is able.

As we move into verses 4-5, David is speaking to those men who were so opposed to him.  He encourages them to think through what they are doing.  And then he challenges them to do the right thing.  It is interesting that in this Psalm, at least, David is concerned for the well being of those who are in opposition to him.

In verse 7, David says that God has put more joy in his heart than the joy that comes from a fruitful harvest.  Since Israel was an agrarian culture, that is saying something.  A good, bountiful harvest was one of the happiest, best times for the nation.  Yet, David says God gives a greater joy than that.

David closes the Psalm with a great statement.  Because he knows who God is, he will lie down and sleep.  I once had a wise old man tell me that there is no softer pillow than a clear conscience.  When you have great confidence in a great God and you know to the best of your ability you have done right, then sleep is a great reward.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Psalm 3





As we continue through our journey of some of the Psalms, we find a couple of things in the third Psalm that we didn’t find in the first two but that we will find in many of the other Psalms.  First, this third Psalm is accredited to David.  Often the entire book of Psalms is thought to have been written by David.  While he did write many of them, he did not write all of them.  Psalm 3 was written by David and we are even told of the circumstances of this Psalm:  David has fled Jerusalem to escape his son Absalom who is in the process of a hostile takeover of the nation.

The other thing that we find in this Psalm that is seen often in the rest of the book is the term Selah.  There is some disagreement on the actual meaning of this word but all seem to agree that it is a musical term.  Remember the Psalms were the hymn book of the Hebrew people.  There are many who believe (and I am one of them) that the word Selah means to pause.  In other words, as the people are singing this psalm there are at least three places that they are to stop or pause.  In musical terms it would be like a “rest”. 

As this Psalm opens, David is lamenting that he is surrounded by many foes.  It is one thing to have enemies.  I guess regardless of how hard we try to live at peace with others, we all will have an enemy or two.  Most of us probably have a lot more.  But imagine the difficulty David had while struggling with the fact that it was his own son who was leading this insurrection and was directing these armies not only to chase David out of Jerusalem but now to surround him in the wilderness.

The enemies of David were so certain of themselves, their numbers, their apparent success, and, no doubt, their military strategies, they were quite convinced that even God couldn’t save David.  Just as a little aside to start the New Year off:  You should never bet against God

In verse 3, we find that David had not given up on God.  He compared God to his shield, his source of true protection.  Most of the translations rightly speak of God being a shield “around” David.  That is most unique.  Normally, soldiers kept their shields in front of them.  But here we discover God is protecting David on all sides. 

David goes on to say that God will lift his (David’s) head.  This simply means David was convinced that God would restore his dignity and position.  In other words, God would restore David to the throne. 

There are many reasons David had such great confidence in God.  But one reason in the context of this Psalm is that in verse 5, as David slept and then woke up, God was still protecting him.  It is interesting how much it takes sometimes as well as how little it takes sometimes to have your courage renewed.  God’s protection during the night was just the boost David needed. 

Verse 7 is an interesting verse.  David is being quite blunt in his description of what God has done and will do.  In our New Testament context, we would probably be more comfortable with the verse describing how David prayed for his enemies.  But instead David is rejoicing in the fact that God was going to “get” his enemies.  Interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that God rebukes David for this attitude.

The Psalm ends with a great and powerful statement: “Salvation belongs to the Lord”.  The NIV says that deliverance comes from the Lord.  Either way, this is a great statement of truth and a powerful promise to remember.  God saves!  God delivers!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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