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    March 31, 2020


    Psalm 4 was written as an evening prayer, that is, when one is retiring for the night. While the psalmist could not change distressing circumstances around him, he could still have gladness in his heart (v. 7), as his anxiety was transformed into assurance of God’s sovereignty. As opposed to lying and worrying in bed, it is far better for the believer to commit self and the situation to the Lord God.

    Life should be lived with confidence in God’s providence, knowing that the Lord sovereignly rules everything and He is always working for the good of those who love Him, “to those who are called according to His purpose” (cf. Rom 8:28). Even when life situations appear overwhelming, the believer can “know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself” (Ps 4:3). God hears when his people “call to Him.” Asking the Lord God for help is always the best approach for overcoming inner turmoil (Phil 4:6-7).

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    The primary message of Psalm 4 is to provide the believer a Godward focus in the midst of one’s distress (v. 2). The believer can be confident in God throughout desperate times by residing in peace, with the knowledge that the Lord reigns supreme. Appeals to God are never on the basis of a person’s own efforts or goodness; rather, one pleads on the basis of the Lord’s perfect righteousness which is received by grace through faith (v. 1).

    When anger or fear arises, believers need to confront those feelings honestly, and “be renewed in the spirit of [their] mind” (Eph 4:24-26). As opposed to lying in bed and allowing one’s problems to become overwhelming, the believer can meditate upon God’s sovereign power and love for his people, and thereby “offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord” (Ps 4:5).

    In the midst of the darkness, the believer can appeal to God: “lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!” (v. 6). The petition is based upon the well-known benediction of Aaron (Numb 6:24-26), and is a request for the completeness of God’s favor to be extended toward the believer. The divine gift of gladness can be received even in times of sorrow (Ps 4:7). In the time of life’s afflictions and trials, the believer can receive peace (v. 8).

    While the situation may not change immediately, prayer changes the believer, putting gladness in the heart (v. 7), and that inner transformation – based upon the biblical assurance of God setting apart his people for Himself (v. 3) – allows one to experience more joy “than when their grain and new wine abound” (v. 7). Joy in God is more plentiful than when a farmer enjoys a bountiful harvest, which is possible because of one’s trust in the Lord God.

    Only the Lord can provide deliverance from life’s troubles. As opposed to internalizing anxiety, believers should pray to God, who is “a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1), and rely upon Him for relief and rescue. When believers call upon God from a pure heart – arising from the receiving of God’s righteousness by grace through faith – they have confidence that He hears and will answer in accordance with his perfect will and sovereign power.

    Grace and Peace to You,

    Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
    Capitol Commission Georgia

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