Psalm 4 at times can feel like has it disparate and unrelated parts. However, it does have a coherent theme, and some absolutely beautiful imagery with some great lines to remind us of the goodness of God.
Main Point: David’s repeated anthem is his confidence in his God to hear him, and that it is the Lord who sustains him. He admonishes all to take such an outlook, and indicates the Joy that is to be had when we trust in God.
David can see that those who do not follow the Lord are chasing hollow things and lies, and it is the Lord who brings unspeakable joy. Joy that can not be compared with the blessing of the material world. David becomes and evangelist for this Joy, and asks for the Lord to reveal himself to those who doubt his goodness. By asking for the Lord, to shine the light of his face upon them David is asking for the special blessing of God akin to the way he blessed the Israelites in their victories over the canaanites (Psalm 44:3).
Ultimately whatever David’s distress is, he can lie down and sleep in peace because it is the Lord who is his protector. His life, and his salvation are not dependent on him, but upon God. He doesn’t have to hold things together, because he can’t. He relies on the only one who can. This dependence brings him peace and a good night sleep. I know in my own life how well I sleep is a fairly good barometer for how much I am trusting in God to take care of my needs.
Interesting Points: While David starts off by asking for relief from his distress, he doesn’t come back to the specifics of what that might be. Given that much of the rest of the Psalm is a pleading, so to speak, with sinners to turn to God and for God to shine upon sinners, David’s distress might have been that so many of his fellow Israelites had turned their back on God, and doubted his goodness.
The NIV translates “seek lies” as “seeking false gods”. This to makes a little bit of sense if you translate it v. 2 according to the NIV text note “dishonor my Glorious One.” This would almost turn the whole Psalm into an admonishment for the wicked to turn to God.
The idea of the Light of God’s face shining upon them, bring to my mind the Aaronic blessing that was to be placed upon the people from Numbers 6:22-27. It also reminds me of the blessing that is to be had by living in the presense of God.
Not sure that many of us can echo the words of v. 7 in our materialistic culture. I would love to say that those would come from my mouth from pure conviction rather than a memory verse.
Emotional reactions: Do I need to say more than peace and trust in God? I know that he has set me apart. He makes me dwell in safety, and His blessings are greater than the newest gadget. He hears our prayers and will take care of us. He will show us goodness in a pain filled world.