Skip to main content

“Thoughts in the Night”: An Evening Psalm

Psalm 4
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for Thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety” (v.8). Here, in its closing verse, we find the central theme of Psalm 4 – peace, the peace of God. This Psalm can be divided into four sections. v. 1 : prayer for help vs. 2-3 : reproof of his enemies vs. 4-5 : exhortation of his enemies vs. 6-8 : confidence in God It is in the closing section (vs. 6-8) that we come to the heart of this Psalm’s message for us – the peace of God and confidence in God. The Psalm points us to the peace of God so that we might have confidence in God. Before we come to the Psalmist’s confident affirmation of the peace of God, we must first take a look at his struggle to cope with the opposition that comes from those who mock him (v. 2). He is able to cope with this opposition because he has come to rejoice in God as a prayer-answering God (v. 1). v.1 : prayer for help The Psalmist had learned that his own experience of the divine mercy was the strongest support on which he could always rely in times of trouble. On many occasions, the Psalmist had experienced this divine mercy. God had heard his prayer. God had answered his prayer. God had helped him. This was the firm foundation on which he was able to take his stand in the face of fierce opposition. vs. 2-3 : reproof of his enemies v. 2 – From his faith in the divine mercy, the Psalmist derived spiritual authority with which he was able, with clarity ancd conviction, to reprove the doubts and reproaches of his opponents. His directness of speech comes from his realization that when anyone slanders the man of God, they are also slandering God. Note that reproof opens the door for return. He is calling upon them to return to the Lord. By asking the questions, “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”, he is saying, “Is it not time that you stopped slandering God and started worshipping Him?” v.3 – Here, the Psalmist is giving his testimony. He’s no longer reproving. He’s evangelizing. To his bacslidden friends, he has asked the question, “How long will you ignore God’s grace?” Now, he is saying to them, “God has been gracious to me. Can you not see this? He is my Saviour. He can also be your Saviour.” vs. 4-5 : exhortation of his enemies v. 4 – Here, the Psalmist offers some pastoral advice to his backslidden friends. They have made themselves his enemies. He says to them, “Tremble, and sin not!” (v. 4a). They are to tremble before God. They are to fear God. They are to stand in awe of God. With a wholesome fear of God and a true reverence of God, these men are to turn from sin. God is calling them to repentance. When they are in the quietness of their own beds, they are to think seriously about their relation to God (v. 4b). Why does he specify the night time? He knows that our thoughts are easily distracted when we are out and about among peole. He knows that, when we are on our own in the quietness of the night, we can think more seriously about the things that really matter. These men are being called to get alone with God so that they might examine themselves with true honesty. v. 5 – God is not looking only for outward ceremonies. He’s looking for pure sacrifices, offered in a spirit of faith, humility, sincerity and heartfelt repentance. There’s something more important that the outward sacrifice. It’s the state of the heart before God. The Psalmist is urging his backslidden friends to return to the Lord. He’s calling them to get to know the love of God in their hearts ands lives. vs. 6-8 : confidence in God v. 6 – Many are content with material prosperity. They enjoy the worldly blessings, which they have received from God. They never think of giving thanks to God. The Psalmist prays that the light of God’s countenace may shine upon us. He prays that God may look upon us with a Father’s love. Those who put their trust in prosperity have a form of happiness. It is not, however, true joy. Those who seek happiness in a worldly way of living need to be reminded that true joy is found in God alone. v. 7 - “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather have Jesus than riches untold.” “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” The joy of the Lord is the believer’s most priceless possession. The Psalmist speaks of light, joy and peace. We will only know the joy of the Lord when when the Father’s love shines upon us. We will only know the peace of God when we have the joy of the Lord, lifting our hearts. v. 8 : We have received the Psalmist’s testimony concerning the grace of God in his life. Let’s turn to the Lord with sincerity of heart. Let’s come to Him and enter into the joy of His favour. Let’s receive the gift of His peace into our hearts. God’s peace in our hearts – What a wonderful blessing this is. This blessing can be ours through faith in Christ. May God grant that His peace will be given to each one of us.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lord, Your love is the best love.

Psalm 36:1-12 We thank You, Lord, for “Your steadfast love” (Psalm 36:5,7,10). Your love is the best love. It’s the greatest love of all. Your love is very wonderful. We rejoice in Your love. We are amazed at Your love. We look at Jesus, Your Son, crucified for us, and we say, “Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Jesus died for us. Now, He lives in us. In love, You are leading us on into Your future – on to “fullness of joy in Your presence” (Psalm 16:11).

Revised Common Lectionary: Year A

Revised Common Lectionary – Year A First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44 Awaiting Christ’s Return , let us worship God and walk in His ways. God calls us to worship Him - ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord... ’ - and walk in His ways - ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isaiah 2:3, 5). We are moving towards the Day when ‘the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low’, the Day when ‘the Lord alone will be exalted’ (Isaiah 2:11, 12, 17). How are we to get ready for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ? God calls us to keep on worshipping Him. We are to encourage one another to keep on walking with God. ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching’(Hebrews 10:25). Let our pride be humbled and let the Lord be exalted as we await Christ’s Return in ‘faith’, looking to Him alone fo

Approaching the Lord’s Table: Forgiveness, Victory, Faith, God’s Word, God’s Love

As we approach the Lord’s Table, let’s think about two verses of Scripture. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler” (Psalm 91:3). The first of these verses speaks of the forgiveness of our sins. The second speaks of victory over Satan. Through the precious blood of Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through the precious blood of Christ, we are victorious over Satan (Revelation 12:11). Let us rejoice in God’s gift of forgiveness. Let us also rejoice in His gift of victory. We do not earn God’s forgiveness. It is God’s gift. Victory is not earned. Like forgiveness, victory is God’s gift. How do we receive these great gifts of God? We come to the Cross of Christ. At the Cross, we learn that Christ to bring us forgiveness – and He died to give us victory. We receive these gifts by faith. Forgiveness and