Psalm 4 – 1 Answer 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! 2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Distress – all of us have it in our lives. Stress, anxiety, pain, sorrow and anything else that takes our emotions out of balance. The original language describes unfavorable circumstances that affect our emotions. In some forms, the word describes hostile conditions. David certainly experienced both descriptions of distress. We do also. We worry about our children. We worry about the future. We worry about our health. We worry about relationships. We worry about many other things in life. Where does the relief come from our distress?
In Psalm 4, David continues to seek relief from his enemies. He fully embraces that God provides relief during seasons of distress.
David writes this Psalm so the reader will know who is the God of righteousness. We might think David cries out the Yahweh, but he addresses Elohim, a Hebrew name for God in the plural tense. David requests the entire Trinity to come to his rescue.
How often do we ask for help from one part of the trinity when we should ask for relief from the fullness of God – Elohim? I’ll let you and God have a conversation about that question.
Here are four action steps when our circumstances need relief.
First, cry out to God. Emotional circumstances call for more than shotgun prayers. True relief comes when we pour our soul out before God.
Second, do not listen to vain words and lies. Matthew is a great example of Satan’s attempts to use Scripture for his personal gain. We ought to be careful who and what we listen to. Any advice that contradicts the entirety of God’s Word should be disregarded.
Third, carve out space to listen for God’s voice. Our secret prayer place is one of our most important places. Mine isn’t a secret because I talk about what God reveals to me in that room. Do you have a space that is reserved for listening to God’s voice? It might be as simple as a parking space you visit on your lunch hour or on your way to work. True relief from emotional and hostile circumstances comes when we intentionally listen to God’s voice.
Fourth, trust God regardless of your emotions. David wasn’t the only individual who needed this reminder. Take some time to read Jehoshophat’s story in 2 Chronicles 20. SPOILER ALERT!
2 Chronicles 20:15b-17 says, “Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
If you’re distressed in any way, I encourage you to get alone with God today and pour out your soul to him. Be careful who you allow to give you “wisdom”. Listen to God intentionally and trust him regardless of your feeling. Like David, you will experience true relief and you will be blessed on the other side of the distress.