3-Week Series: Double Blessing

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Summary: This Psalm is titled, To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. In it David pours out his complaint against slanderous enemies and finds peace and refuge in God.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tom Lowe

Psalm 4—Talking to God and Men

1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.

3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Introduction

This Psalm is titled, To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. In it David pours out his complaint against slanderous enemies and finds peace and refuge in God.

Commentary

1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

Hear me when I call.

David speaks first to God, and then to men. This is the right method; and wouldn’t it be great if we spoke more words to God than we do to men? When we are maligned, and slandered by others, as David was here, we should, by his example, make God acquainted with our circumstance. But why does David only beg for a hearing and mercy in general instead of informing God of his particular grievances? Perhaps it was because he looked upon the favor of God as the ultimate blessing. David would really rather have God’s love and favor than all the good in this world; and therefore, he so whole-heartedly begged for it above anything else.

Can you hear the passion in his voice as he cries out to God? He doesn’t want to just cast up words towards heaven. He needs God’s attention to his present problem. Often power in prayer is lacking because there is little passion in prayer. It isn’t that we persuade God by emotional displays, but God wants us to care deeply about the things He cares deeply about. The prophet Isaiah spoke with sorrow about the lack of this in Israel: “And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You” (Isaiah 64:7). This is a good example of David stirring himself up to take hold of God.

O God of my righteousness.

This expression may mean either “Oh, my righteous God,” or “The foundation, source, or author of my righteousness.” Matthew Henry included this statement in his commentary on Psalm 4: "God Himself is not merely a righteous God in his own right but He is also the author of my righteous disposition." God is indeed the author of all the good that might be done by anyone.

David knew that his righteousness came from God, and not from himself. He calls upon the God who makes him righteous.

Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.

The word “enlarged” as it is used here means to set free. He calls aloud for God’s assistance; You delivered me from my former troubles, temporal and spiritual, which makes me hope thou wilt still take pity upon me, and grant the humble petition which I present unto thee. God will surely come to the aid of his own in the midst of their greatest distress; and because they have made him the God of their mountains, he will be the God of their valleys also.

David was an Old Testament type of Christ when it comes to distress (suffering, trouble, and stress). As an experienced warrior and conqueror, he had been familiar with dangers and deliverances, and his faith is now encouraged from the past. For example, he could have been killed by Saul casting a javelin at him; and when his house was watched by Saul’s men, he was let down through a window and escaped; and when he was shut in at Keilah, where Saul thought he had him trapped; and at other times, to which he may be referring to here and in Psalm 18:19—“He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”

Have mercy upon me.

The psalmist pleads for mercy, not on the basis of any merit or worthiness of his own, but instead, he asks for the grace and mercy of God; and he is aware of his sin, both original and actual, so he pleads for pardoning grace and mercy. The words may be rendered, "be gracious unto me,” or "show me favor." Surely, David was not thinking of us when he made this plea, but all sensible sinners should follow his example and ask God for mercy; we don’t need to beg Him, because Christ has already paid for our sins and He is eager to forgive us, and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. All the saints have access to Him as the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort, and provider of every mercy, both secular and spiritual.

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