Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah
Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4 NIV
Lately I have experienced several hours in the night when it seems I can’t turn my mind off. Psalm 4 is a record of a similar sleepless night for David. This Psalm shows us a conversation between David and God. David asks God to be merciful, to hear him and give him relief. Then David gets specific, he asks God how long his people will seek lies, false gods and continue to dishonor the true God. The next word in the Psalm is Selah – which could mean pause, reflect, be silent. I believe David did just that, he paused in his prayer – to listen – to hear God’s reply to his requests and to his turmoil. In my sleepless hours, I don’t think I heed David’s example enough. Do you pause and listen to God in the midst of your turmoil?
David’s tone changes in verse 3, God has assured him that the Lord has set the godly apart for himself, and that God hears his prayers. Next, David gives himself and each of us wonderful advice to not sin when we are angry, and to search our hearts, examine our actions at the end of the day. Then we see Selah again. David is recommending confession of sin, then to sit, listen, let God speak to us in the quiet. After pausing, reflecting, David has an answer is verse 5. He states that God wants us to trust him and to give to God the right sacrifices: our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our actions and our souls.
David concludes this Psalm praising God for his blessings. He is no longer asking questions, he is expressing his joy in how God has filled his heart with his very presence. In Psalm 4:8 David says, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” David’s mind is no longer filled with questions and turmoil. He has peace and joy after praying about his turmoil, confessing his sin, and waiting and listening to God’s answer. What a powerful example! I plan to Selah this week. Will you join me? Spend time praying about your concerns and requests, but let us make sure we pause – get quiet – listen to what God has to tell us. I believe it will bring us peace and joy as well.
By Grace Hunter