>January 9: Psalm 4

>Psalm 4 is characterized by a quiet confidence that only the believer can have. That confidence helps us to come to God on account of Christ, and it helps strengthen us in the midst of trials brought on by other people.

He begins by asking God to hear him, and then remembering that He has. It’s because of God’s past faithfulness that he comes back asking for help in his current circumstance. What we know to be true of God necessarily directs how we interact with him. If we know he is faithful, we will trust him in prayer. If we don’t know this, why bother going to him in the first place?

In verses 2-5, he suddenly turns to his fellow men. He begins with (perhaps apologetical) questions to the ungodly in 4:2, then affirms God’s grace to him when he prays (4:3). Verse 4 is one verse whose advice we don’t often hear: “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” Have you been silent lately? I’m a much bigger fan of my own voice than I am of silence. I don’t think this is a weird, trance-like, meditational silence. I think this is a silence that comes from confident faith in God’s grace for us in Christ (cf. 4:1, 3).

When we have the sort of confidence that comes to us as we remember the powerful reality of the cross of Christ for us, we can pray as in 4:7: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” I am not always convinced of this. I like material things and riches and the finer things of life. I am not always sure that God himself brings more joy than when material blessings abound. But he does. And if he doesn’t for us right now, we need to desperately be seeking Him if we do so, joy will come.

Most nights I pray 4:8 for Jonas. This closes the psalm on the note of quiet and determined confidence. God is the only one who can give such confidence; we are safe in our beds at night only because God desires it. We submit ourselves then to a loving, passionate God who pursues us. And we can confidently know him from his self-revelation. That is why I can sleep at night snug as a bug in a rug.

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