First Impressions of Psalm 4

Psalm 4

Of all the verses in this psalm, verse 1 probably jumps out at me the most.  I’m always struck by the boldness of prayers in the Bible, and especially in the Psalms.  I’m a polite (most of the time), unassuming (again, most of the time), Norwegian Lutheran.  I don’t like being an inconvenience to people, and often times this carries over to my relationship with God.

I find that sometimes my prayers sound something like this: “Hi God…sorry to bother you, but if you have the time, would it be alright if you healed this person (or provided for this need; or give me direction in a certain area, etc)?  I’m sorry to bother you, and if that’s not really want you want, I understand.”

But here we read David open this psalm with, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!”  That’s the type of boldness I think the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he penned Heb. 4:16.  I’m looking forward to seeing if this Psalm gives some insights on how to pray boldly without being selfish or ostentatious.

The next phrase that really jumps off the page is “Be angry, and do not sin.”  Yet another area I struggle in.  I have some real anger-related events in my past that I truly regret.  It will be interesting to study what this verse is actually saying, especially since the phrase, “offer right sacrifices,” appears in the same strophe.[1]

It looks like we’ll have a talk about lasting enjoyment in verses six and seven.  At face value, it appears that David is referring to people who are looking solely for material benefit from God in verse six, especially when he responds with, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”  David appears to be announcing that a relationship with God goes well beyond the temporary blessings of this life.

Finally, we’ll be returning to the theme of peace and rest in the Lord.  David seems to talk about this quite often, and you wonder how ragged he must have looked and felt at times in his reign as king of Israel.  He sure seems to understand the value of rest and peace in the Lord.

We are now four psalms into this experiment, and it is really nice to be able to identify recurring themes and have them enhance the study.  The unity of God’s Word is truly a fabulous thing to behold.  Interestingly enough, this psalm seems to draw from a lot of those themes.  My first impression is that there is more of a lack of unified theme with this psalm than with the first three.  I can’t wait to see how that works itself out over the course of the study.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

[1] I did some digging and found that the stanzas or sections in each psalm that are grouped together are referred to as strophes.  Score one for five minutes more of research.

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