Psalm 4:1-8 (NKJV) — “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us any good?’ Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart. More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
A psalm of David with stringed instruments. For me, picturing David in the fields alone as a shepherd boy ... learning the lessons of praise and worship — then through his struggles as a warrior, then king, relying on the same comfort of God’s presence in unclear and uncertain circumstances, does what he has learned to do, knows to do.
If you spend time studying the book of Psalms you’ll discover as I have that the third and fourth Psalms were actual songs and they were meant to be played together or at least accompany each other.
The third Psalm is the “Morning Song.” The fourth Psalm is the “Evening Song.”
If you happen to have some study time before this Palm Sunday, perhaps studying this Psalm may be a blessing to you.
Keep in mind Psalm three was written first and is broken down in this form:
Verses 1-2: David complains to God.
Verses 3-4: He declares his confidence in the Lord
Verses 5-6: David sings of safety in sleep.
Verses 7-8: He strengthens himself for future conflict (which we all know will come).
I really like this idea: The Psalm is not a continuous description of a single scene but there is unity. As a bundle of arrows rather than a single shaft.
The mental image that crosses my mind’s screen is the Roman fasces, which is a bundle of rods and a single axe head, which was carried as a symbol of magisterial and priestly authority in ancient Rome.
Disclaimer: I mention the fasces as I grapple with the image of a bundle of arrows.
I guess I may have been better off using the term “sheave.” A bundle of arrows is call a sheave, but that creates the image of a sheave of wheat, not what I was aiming for.
Psalm four is broken down the same way. Keep in mind chapter three is the morning song, while four is the evening song.
Verse 1: David pleads with God for help.
Verses 2-5: He reasons with his enemies.
Verses 6-8: David takes delight in the contrasts in the differences between the righteous and the ungodly.
It’s those differences that allow the believer to have hope in the midst of the trials and uncertainties of our daily lives.
Praise and Worship!
David, the young shepherd boy armed with a staff, which is simply a stick, and of course his soon-to-be-famous sling, to fight off lions and bears (no tigers — sorry) and perhaps robbers.
He learned to sing and play music, to acknowledge God’s presence and to depend on it. To arm him with the measure of courage and strength when needed to protect the flock. An extremely valuable lesson for him as a boy, soon to be anointed king.
I find it’s a valuable lesson for me and I hope for you as well.
I close with this verse as an encouragement in the midst of our struggles of uncertain times.
Genesis 50:20 — “You tended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”