Psalm 4: Answer Me When I Call

This one also opens with some musical direction. It has a note to include stringed instruments and one that it is a “Psalm of David”. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he wrote it but that it was possibly meant to go to the instrumental that he had originally written.

Psalm 4

1Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

2O men,a how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

4Be angry,b and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.

6There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
7You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

8In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

This one may not have been specifically written by David but it serves as an interesting follow up to Psalm 3 on account of him. To me, it reads like the celebration after the battle that David was gearing up for in Psalm 3. He’s reiterating that God does answer him and they’re in the time after a fight when everyone’s feelings are still a little hurt but everyone knows who won. Sometimes it involves the winner doing a bit of a victory lap, like this feels.

It is a little self-righteous, like the author just knows he is so perfect when he says “God of my righteousness”. Much as I try, I can’t put together a good feel for what that even really means. Later, it feels like he’s asking his old opponent to not jump to revenge but to turn to God instead, the way the author did. It then repeats the sentiment that the author can sleep without concern for retaliation because God continues to watch out for them after having asked for God to do so in the beginning of the psalm.

I found it interesting to combine some phrases that make him sound so sure that God will continue to look out for him with some language that really makes the author seem unsure that will happen. Maybe he feels like the certainty is in the asking and failure to ask means not getting any help. I don’t know.

We do see “selah” pop up a few more times, and in case you hadn’t read the last one, there is no recognized definition for that word, just some guesses that it’s a sort of musical notation or something.

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