Today, Friday October 07
Peace in the Midst of the Storm
“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.”
Psalm 4 was written by King David as he was fleeing from his son Absalom who was leading an insurrection against him. The first thing David did was pour out his heart to the Lord God of heaven and cry out and make a plea for mercy and help! But David doesn’t have his head in a hole and ignores the immediate problems around him that must be happening among those who had fled with him. As you read this Psalm, you can’t help but notice there are people that are angry (v. 4), and there are those who are discouraged (v. 6).
I remember in my college days that it seemed like Dr. Jerry Falwell spoke about discouragement more than anything else. He would often say that the devil’s greatest tool to get a Christian down, is the tool of discouragement, because God can’t use a discouraged person. For sure that is what David is dealing with in the last verses of this chapter.
David's leaders must have reported to him what many of the people were saying, so he knew that there was discouragement in the ranks (see also 3:2). They were saying, "Who will show us any good?" The amplified version puts it this way, "O that we might see some good!" You’ve heard people in the middle of a trial often say, "Can anything good come out of this?" or "Who can get us out of this mess?"
The tense of the verb indicates that this discouraging statement was repeated again and again by the complainers, and the more they complained, the more others took up the strain. Another Bible version reads, "O for good days!" It's well been said that "the good old days" are a combination of a bad memory and a good imagination. You have to wonder what kind of "good" were the people looking for. Were they looking for material wealth, peace and security at any price, a godly king, a successful new king?
We might also call this “wishful thinking”. I’m not so sure that the “good old days” ever existed! For most people it means a time of material prosperity and everything is going the way they like it. But my friend, we must remember that those times are still filled with disappointments and don’t last long!
“LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us” (v. 6). David knew what kind of good he wanted: the light of God's smile upon him and his people. To see the glorious face of God and know that He was well pleased would take care of everything. This statement no doubt refers back to the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:24-26: "The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." '
“The light of Your countenance” is a phrase that is repeated often in the Psalms, (31:16; 44:3; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19; and 119:135). There was no priest present to bestow this blessing, but David knew that God would answer the prayer of his heart. The king wanted to see the Lord change darkness into light, and that's exactly what God did. But not only did David's darkness become light, but his discouragement was replaced by joy (v. 7). The Israelites experienced great joy at weddings and bountiful harvests (Isa. 9:3; Jer. 48:33); but the joy God gave David exceeded even those times.
Finally, David praised God for the peace the Lord placed in his heart before the battle had been fought and won (v. 8; see 3:5). David knew he could lay down and go to sleep in peace, knowing that God was his shield (v. 8). The Hebrew word for "peace" (shalom) means much more than the absence of conflict. It carries with it the ideas of adequacy for life, confidence and fullness of life. Perhaps the Lord brought Deuteronomy 33:12 to David's mind—"The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, who shelters him all day long...". This promise is even more meaningful when you recall that David's name means "beloved."
My friend, the Lord Jesus has promised us His peace in the times of our troubles (John 14:1, 27). We also have this added assurance from Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”