Spiritual Sandwich (Psalm 4)
By Tyler Winters
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.
6 Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
The Psalms were an incredible comfort when I first believed and began to follow Jesus. As all Christians do I dealt with the new realization of the sin in my life and would often find myself reading through the Psalms. While reading through them the scriptures would often begin to take on a life of their own and quickly, my own cries to God would become the very words I was reading.
While I believe this is possible for all of scripture, I find that this is more frequent with the book of Psalms, primarily due to the amount of emotion that is present in them. This psalm is no different.
Chapter 4 deals with 3 scenarios, beginning and ending with a sort of contrast. So let's take a look at this scriptural sandwich.
Piece of bread #1: David begins with a simple request to God. Do something. He's crying out to God to respond to his situation, which obviously is not good if you pay attention to his choice of words. He wants to know God hears him and will answer his request, which is giving him relief from apparently a distressing situation. How often do we want just that? Just to have God answer us in some form or fashion? Notice that while David is being specific, he's not being exactly specific on HOW God would give him relief.
Cheese: Verses 2 to 3 are the first scenario. David's commenting on the attack that those who follow God may receive. He calls it out for what it is, both the attack and what the attackers are truly doing in the grand scheme of things. From that he gives a reminder, both for himself and the attackers. The LORD hears him.
Lettuce: This scenario is one that is often difficult for myself. Verses 4 to 5 in a nutshell are saying, when things are hard, allow yourself to feel your emotions but don't let them cause you to sin. His solution to do so is to take times of rest and quiet and think, meditate/contemplate, examine your heart (mind, thoughts, etc). When you've done that, check yourself with God and trust him. When life is tough, the last thing I want to do is quiet down, think over it and trust God. It's the best thing I could do though.
Meat: Scenario #3 is honestly the plight of almost anyone in existence. Verses 6 to 7 deal with the issue of supply. Where or how do you get what you need? David touches on this question. I love his words "Let the light of your face shine on us." To some that might mean nothing but to David, for God to shine his face upon the people is to give them blessing and prosperity. Not mansions, cars and millions of dollars but the food, clothes and living necessities they needed. In abundance of course, but not like how we think. I just love how David touches on the request directly. after that he offers much needed advice in the form of prayer. He asks for blessing but he also asks God to be his source of joy when those around him prosper. It's not easy to see people around you "succeeding" or "doing better" than you. We need God to be our source of joy.
Piece of bread #2: The Psalm starts with David asking God to do something. It ends with him declaring he will do something but not because God hasn't gotten up off the couch. At the start he's stressed and ask God for relief. Now at the end he's going to lie down and sleep in piece because he recognizes God as his protector. His action is not "fine, I'll go deal with it" rather it's "I'm gonna step back and rest, cause you've got this."
Whatever you've got going on in life, take a bite of the hearty sandwich of Psalm 4.
Cry out to God, take the necessary steps (believe he hears you, trust him, ask him for Joy in him) and rest in him.