Psalm 4 | Peace and Persecution
Whatever the historical context of this psalm of David, the times are troubling. David seems quiet in his thoughts and confident in his trust. May we be encouraged by his testimony.
David’s confidence begins with remembrance. “You have given me relief when I was in distress” (v. 1). It is sweet to look back and remember God’s loving-kindness in our lives. Especially when my soul is heavy, I pick up my journal and remember the times God has delivered me from evil. I thank Him again for past deliverance and rest peacefully assured of future relief.
David’s confidence continues in prayer—that God “hears when [he] call[s] to Him” (v. 1,3). Admittedly, there are times when it seems God doesn’t hear my prayer. In this case, the problem lies with me, not God. Psalm 91 asserts that God answers the one who holds fast to Him in love (vv. 14,15). Indeed, God hears the prayer of the godly and answers them according to His will. So, we may be completely confident in our prayers when we submit to His sovereignty (Matthew 6:10; cf. 28:18), obey His command (John 14:15), and pursue His will (Matthew 6:33).
David also trusts in God to bring him gladness, peace, and safety (v. 7,8). It’s not hard to be happy when we have everything we desire or when everything goes our way. But a light heart seems unattainable when life seems to be a series of catastrophes, disappointments, or unfortunate events. Still, Jesus teaches that believers are blessed amid persecution, specifically for the sake of righteousness and because of Him (Matthew 5:10-12).
I am reminded of the apostles’ persecution in Acts 5. The Sanhedrin wanted to kill them. Enter Gamaliel’s counsel—if this rising is of men, it will fail, but if of God not only will it succeed, but you might be found opposing God (Acts 5:35-39). So, the apostles were flogged and released. Bloody and in agonizing pain, they left rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Christ. Peter later writes, “if anyone suffers as a Christian . . . let him glorify God in that name . . . [and] entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:16,19).
It’s a kind of certificate of authenticity, being persecuted or suffering for Christ. When we endure it, we can look it square in the eye, smile, and say, “Great is our reward in heaven” because as surely as the heavens are above the earth, Jesus will return to take us there (John 14:3). And that makes me glad, indeed. That joy of the Lord gives me strength to be at peace with my enemies, pray for them, and overcome evil with good (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:9-21).
Nothing is more comforting to me than the security of God’s faithfulness. Remember that “faithful Creator” Peter talked about in 1 Peter 4? He says of Him in 1 Peter 5:10—“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace . . . will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” That is security, peace, and joy that help me go to sleep at night, wake up refreshed, and live another day as a child of God for the glory of God. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Adam Somers is the preaching minister of KVCC.