Today, Tuesday October 04
A Song in the Evening
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, Will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness And seek falsehood? Selah
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
We believe that this Psalm was also written by David as he was fleeing from his son Absalom who was leading an insurrection against him. Actually Psalm 3 and Psalm 4 go together. Psalm 3 was probably written after David had crossed the Jordan River and was camping with his small band of loyal soldiers at Mahanaim. That night he still went to sleep knowing that Absalom might even attack at any time. Psalm 3 is called the “Morning Psalm”, because David wrote in Psalm 3:5, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.” So the morning following the insurrection we find David proclaiming his trust in the Lord.
Psalm 4 is considered an “Evening Psalm”. We know from 2 Samuel 17:1-14, that Absalom was advised by Hushai not to immediately pursue David but to wait. It is possible that several days have now passed and things have somewhat settled down for David and his men as they have some time to prepared for whatever will happen next. We believe it is then that David writes this Psalm one evening before he goes to sleep. He reminds himself to, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” (v. 4). In verse 8 he writes, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
You will find as you read through the Book of Psalms that many of the Psalms follow this same pattern with the first verses describing a person in distress or anguish. They are crying out for help and mercy in the first verses but by the time they get to the last few verses of the Psalm, they are proclaiming their hope, faith, trust in the Lord and His deliverance for them.
I always found this interesting and believe that as we take our focus off our problems or challenges that have distressed and discouraged us and have us down, and we look up and make our plea to the Lord, it will always change our perspective and attitude! We begin to see that God is bigger than our problems and we can praise and worship Him even before the deliverance or victory comes!
In the title to this Psalm, we have the first mention of "the chief musician," who is included in the titles of fifty-three psalms. He was the "minister of worship" and custodian of the sacred psalms at the tabernacle and then the temple (1 Chron. 6:31-32; 15:16-22; 25:1, 7). "Accompanied by stringed instruments", comes from the Hebrew word “neginoth”, (found in the title for Psalms 4, 6, 54, 55, 61, 67, 76), and refers to the harp and lyre (1 Chron. 23:5; 25:1, 3, 6).
It's a wonderful thing that David could turn this distressing experience into song, to the glory of God. His example shows us what our responses ought to be in times of crisis. I trust these devotions and Psalms will encourage you to trust the Lord every day as David did!