It appears that David, the psalmist, is writing here about a time in which he was caught up in untrue rumors, possibly even deliberate untruths being told about him by others. It looked as if his reputation was being ruined. What could he do? Psalm 4:2 says, “O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
Have you ever been in a similar situation? What was happening wasn’t fair and you didn’t know how to fix the problem?
David did something that we all need to do when we find ourselves in this kind of anxiety producing situation. He prayed to God, the God who he was convinced would be his vindicator. And he looked back, remembering when God had previously come to his rescue.
Psalm 4:1 says, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!" Then in verse 3 we see David’s faith. He believed that the Lord hears, "when I call to him”. So, in his difficulties and distress he knew he was not alone.
In this psalm David seems to be using this situation he personally went through to teach others. He goes on to give us good advice as we go through this valley ourselves. In verses 4-5 he writes, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. ~ Selah ~ Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord.” So, it’s okay to be angry at the injustice of it all but don’t sin by acting impulsively. Be silent and wholly put your trust in the Lord. It really can be so hard, can’t it, to keep our mouth closed and it will certainly test the reality of our faith in God to trust him to bring us through. But that is the way of blessing.
The blessing for David was great indeed! In fact, he’s sure that the joy he received from seeing God bring him through this difficulty far exceeded the happiness these offenders will ever find in their pleasures. In Psalm 4:7 he wrote, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound”.
Then he comes to the climax, the truth he wants to impart as to how we can respond, and it seems just the opposite of our usual reaction. In verse 8 David says, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” “Lie down in peace” – stop running around trying to be the fixer. “And sleep in peace” – without anxiety or worry because we’re in his hands. That’s when our faith is real. The Lord said something similar to his disciples in Luke 12:11-12,
“…do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
How many night’s sleep have we missed because we were unsure if our God was big enough for our problem and we didn’t take David’s advice – instead we lay awake in bed trying to figure it all out ourselves. Our God is able, more than able. He is just and good and faithful and we can fully rely on him.
Give your burden to the Lord today.