I love this Psalm! It is a prayer spoken in faithful confidence in God, not desperation and doubt.
King David, in today’s Psalm (Psalm 4), probably was speaking to such a time in his own life, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that he has given us a wonderful prayer that speaks of human hurt and divine help. The hurt people often experience is often physical, but it could also be emotional. But the pain is real!
Many people have had to deal with the distrust, disdain, and outright animosity of others. Sometimes it is from relatives or friends. Sometimes the hatred and distrust come from enemies or total strangers. People may wear different or odd clothing. They may have strange sounding names. Perhaps they come from the wrong part of town, are country “bumpkins,” or go to the wrong church or school. Perhaps you have felt the burn of such attitudes. I know that I have—and it isn’t fun. Where should people go for relief and comfort?
Verses seven and eight of Psalm 4 give us the answer. “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:7–8)
Someone once asked me what would the worst thing that could happen to a person: illness or disease, war, fire, natural disaster, dying alone are all on many folks short list. I, myself, suspect that the worst, however, would be what Jesus Christ experienced during His crucifixion. St. Mark, in chapter 15, verse 34 recorded Jesus’ dying words: “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Having God turn His back on anyone is a thought that boggles my mind. This is what Jesus experienced for us and our salvation from sin, death, and the power of Satan.
Now consider verse one of our Psalm: “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!” This is exactly what God did for King David, for Adam and Eve, Abraham, and all sinners. This is what God has done for you and me, too! He has answered our pray for deliverance and salvation, for permission to enter His presence, to live forever with Him. God has indeed given us relief in our distress! His name is JESUS!
We pray: Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Spirit, you have given us true and absolute relief in our distress and pain! His name is Jesus; and in his name we pray and give you thanks and praise. Amen.