Thursday, March 31, 2016
“To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.” (Psalm 4:1a)
This Psalm was written specifically to be played on stringed instruments such as the Psaltery. It is written to the chief string player, and was written by David.
“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.” (Psalm 4:1b)
In the past, God has delivered David from difficulties, and now he asks him to hear his prayers again and have mercy, not punishing him as he deserves.
“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.” (Psalm 4:2)
David asks why people insist on turning the things he is proudest of into something to be embarrassed about? Times when he sought to please God, such as when he refused to let Abishai kill Saul were viewed as a sign of weakness. Michal despised him for getting so excited about moving the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. When David tried to show his appreciation for the Ammonite king Nahash’s help, the Ammonites insulted him by their treatment of his representatives.
People often deliberately misunderstand or distort one’s motives. They focus on meaningless and worthless pursuits, seeking out people who will compliment them and feed their pride with falsehoods and lies. In II Timothy 4:3-4, Paul warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The word ‘Selah’ refers to a pendulous or hanging twig. There seems to be no exact English translation of the idiomatic way it is used here, so the translators left it alone. The implication seems to be that ultimately the hanging twig has to stay within the limits imposed and go along, unable to do very much else.
“But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 4:3-5)
When the people reject and deliberately distort things, actively seeking teaching that satisfies their desires, they need to understand that God has chosen those who follow him for himself. He will hear when they cry out to him. They need to step back and see the amazing power he can exert and make sure they don’t go against him. Instead they need to make the effort to do rightand trust God to make things turn out right.
“There be many that say, Who will show us any good?
LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:6-8)
Many people see God as just an uninterested observer far in the distance and assume there is no one who can help them. David asks that God let his light shine to them, that they can see the joy in his heart. That joy is greater than all the riches when their business is succeeding and they are getting rich. He lay down and sleep in peace, knowing God has his back and will protect him. The World’s ideas about God are gleaned from what they see of God working in our lives.