Study Notes

Psalm 4:1-8

On Stringed Instruments

This is the first of six psalms specified to the choir director for play on stringed instruments (Psalms 4, 6, 54, 55, 67, and 76). Habakkuk 3 is also a psalm of sorts, a prayer that the prophet directs to the choir director for play on stringed instruments.

Stringed instruments included the harp (Ps. 33:2; 144:9; Isa. 23:16), the lute (Ps. 92:3), and the lyre (Ps. 6).

4:1 God Of My Righteousness

David is calling out to God again in Psalm 4, but not according to his own good works or righteous deeds. He says, "O God of my righteousness." The idea that we can come to God on our own merits is ludicrous.

Isa. 64:6 ...all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...

Rom. 3:10 as it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

Rom. 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh

No, we desperately need the righteousness of God imputed to us by grace through faith. The books of Romans and Galatians are dedicated to this point, that righteousness comes not by our good works, but by the righteousness of Christ given to us through faith.

Rom. 4:2-8 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Gal. 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness {comes} through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

And to the Philippians, Paul wrote,

Phil. 3:9 ...not having a righteousness of my own derived from {the} Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which {comes} from God on the basis of faith

When we call out to God, we should call out to the God of our righteousness.

Thou Hast Relieved Me

David acknowledges that he has not been relieved from his distress, but has been relieved in his distress. Though God frequently chooses not to carry us up and away from our trials and distresses, He has promised to give us peace in them and to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with us.

Hear My Prayer

How do we know that God hears our prayers? Proverbs 15 says,

Prov. 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

Remember, in Christ we have perfect righteousness. There are only two circumstances that I know of in which God will refuse to hear my prayers.

In Isaiah 1, the people of Israel were practicing iniquity and corruption. They continued to offer sacrifices, yet in unrepentance. The Lord told them,

Isa. 1:15 "So when you spread out your hands {in prayer,} I will hide My eyes from you, Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.

The prayers of unrepentant hearts practicing dead religion will not be heard by God. Secondly, Peter wrote,

1Pet. 3:7 You husbands likewise, live with {your wives} in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

If you are not treating your wife with understanding and as a sister in Christ, your prayers will also be hindered. When we cry out to the Lord, let us test our lives and hearts to insure that our prayers are being heard.

4:2 My Honor A Reproach

Now David directs his words away from the Lord and to the men of this world.

His honor, his "kaw-BODE," in Hebrew, was his glory, his weightiness. The office of king had been given to David by God himself. But this honor was his reproach among men. Certainly, if God had never exalted him to be king, then he would never have faced so many enemies.

Luke 12:48 ...From everyone who has been given much shall much be required...

The honor God had given him had become a reproach among men. This is so often true when we are put in a place of authority in our lives. You're promoted to assistant manager at the store, and suddenly everyone who was your friend is now trying to stab you in the back. Instead of submitting to authority, so many love what is worthless and aim at deception.

4:3 The Lord Has Set Apart The Godly Man For Himself

In spite of the reproach, David is bold. His confidence is in two things: that God is in control, and that David is living after God's heart. He has complete confidence that God hears when he calls.

4:4-5 Tremble And Do Not Sin

David, instead of saying, "God will smite you, you evildoers," desires that they will turn to God as well. He tells them to fear God, repent of their sin, sit in quiet contemplation before God, offer the sacrifices of the righteous, and trust God. This is truly God's heart

2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

We should always look at our enemies as potential converts.

4:6 Who Will Show Us Good?

When we evangelize, many unbelievers say, "are you the example of goodness? You're a hypocrite!" We need to pray for our light and our witness in this world, that we would truly be representing God rightly. Knowing that we don't have it in ourselves to shine the light of God, David prays,

Ps. 4:6 ...Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O LORD!

It is the fire of the Holy Spirit shining out of our lives that makes us the light of the world.

4:7-8 Gladness In My Heart

Once again, David rests in the perfect peace of God. Although the wicked of the world may get a windfall inheritance or receive double their investment in the stock market, the gladness and peace that God gives us is better.

Ps. 20:7 (KJV) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Only in God is there perfect safety, perfect peace.

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