Peace and Safety are The LORD's

Psalm 3 and 4 share many characteristics, and I like the heading notes. Psalm 3 was called a morning prayer and Psalm 4 is called an evening prayer, but they’re both prayers of trust in the LORD. Regardless of what time you pray this Psalm, the point is that God alone protects his children and gives them peace.

First we deal with the ground of David’s righteousness and his belonging to the covenant people of God. He puts it right out front: “O God of my righteousness.” This is no statement of self-righteousness, even as he was living under the full weight of the Law. David knows that God has made him righteous, and inclined his ear to David in his distress, and he continues to pray to God even during reprieve.

God never gives in half-measures.

He contrasts his estate with the moral bankruptcy of his enemies. They live to deceive and love worthless things. Worst of all, the LORD hasn’t covered them in righteousness and it’s easy to see how that knowledge would bring David peace.

David offers four suggestions: tremble, don’t sin, meditate in your heart on your bed, and be still. These are all things the disciple of God delights in. We should have devotional awe toward God, desire to honor him and refrain from doing what he despises, to ponder over his word even when we are at rest, and to not trouble ourselves about what’s “above our pay grade” (so to speak) and trust God to provide for us. All of these things are burdensome and even foolish to the unbeliever, as Paul would call a scent of death to death. Instead the faithful offer right sacrifices and trust in their God.

Yet despair wages war against believers in verse 6 and they cry out for God to shine his light on them in their distress. Yet David here has received gladness in his heart, some comfort in the midst of suffering. He says it’s more than the barns brimming with grain and peak wine. God never gives in half-measures.

Notice he mentions next that he will lie down and sleep, a common theme in the last two Psalms. David has had and will continue to have dark nights of the soul. Yet for two Psalms in a row he has mentioned that he can sleep. To many insomniacs, excited yet exhausted with anxiety and dread, sleep can feel like the ultimate luxury. David is no different and praise God that he was honest enough to write it down.

He doesn’t praise wine, Ambien, or a mallet strike to the head for letting him catch some Z’s. “You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.” He’s not out of the woods yet, but as he will write in Psalm 56:11, “In God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

As Paul would say in Romans 8:31,32, “...if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?” Sleep is in that list as is every good thing we receive (James 1:17).

Glory to God alone.

Lee Jones