WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3
SCRIPTURE: 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.