I have purposed that in 2016 I will be more focused and purposeful in my prayer time. Reading Psalm 4 this morning has only served to add fuel to that fire.

The historical setting for this psalm is Absalom’s rebellion against his father, David. Consequently, David finds himself in the middle of political and relational strife not to mention, in danger of physical harm. It is in that context he writes the fourth psalm.

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!
Psalm 4:1

David has cultivated a life of prayer such that it is a natural response for him to cry out to the Lord when he is in distress. He is motivated by past experiences where he has done so and God has given him relief. At this point, it’s muscle memory. In the midst of life’s storms, David has learned to pursue God in prayer.

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
Psalm 4:4–5

David has also learned to preach to himself and aligns his thinking such that he can rest and trust in the LORD. Rather than given in to his anger and sin, he must be still and know that God is sovereign over all things.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

This is my favorite part. What a wonderful thing to be able to lie down and sleep in peace. To have your heart and mind so steadied that you are able to sleep in peace. What a gift. David is able to enjoy this physical rest because he has learned to rest spiritually in the knowledge and confidence that the LORD is sovereign, the LORD is with him, and the LORD will keep him.

Applications for today:

  • Remember – one of the reasons David is so faithful to call out to the LORD is because he remembers past times when the LORD has given him relief from distress. As we take time to reflect on past evidences of the LORD’s faithfulness, we are encouraged to draw near to Him.
  • Reflect – in the midst of trouble, it is wise to still ourselves before God and reflect on what we know to be the truth of God.
  • Rest – finally we can rest in the fact that God is sovereign and mighty to save. Our trust and hope can rest firmly in Him and His all-sufficient grace.