Of all the mental suffering men can impose upon us, perhaps the hardest to bear is mockery. Our text from Psalm 4 describes David’s conflict with mockery, and the way he dealt with it. In this first verse he records his prayer to GOD for help. On the basis of past blessings, he turned again for fresh mercies from the GOD of his righteousness, which is the same as his ‘righteous GOD’. GOD’s merciful, righteous nature gave David the confidence that GOD would hear, with a view to a gracious reply. It was not by accident that David called Him ‘the GOD of his righteousness’. The clear implication was that GOD was the source of David’s righteousness, and that this was a free gift bestowed on all those who trust in GOD. Isaiah 61 verse 10:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall be joyful in my GOD. For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
This is how our father Abraham was accounted righteous before GOD as we read in Genesis 15, verse 6:
And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. It was of this confidence in his acceptance before GOD that David was able to lay his need before GOD and to face those who mocked him. Psalm 4, verse 2:
How long O you sons of men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? SelahIt is a sad fact that man by nature is more ready to believe a lie, than the truth. Our people have suffered indescribably from the lies that have been perpetuated against them. It is nothing new. It all began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve preferred to believe the serpent, rather than GOD. Genesis 3, verses 4 and 5:
And the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die. For GOD knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like GOD, knowing good and evil. And so they believed the lie and ate of the forbidden fruit. Thousands of years have gone by, and now David was suffering from the consequences. Man had obtained a knowledge of evil and had forsaken that of the good. Lies were the order of the day. However, he trusted in the righteous and merciful GOD, and he was sure that GOD had a special purpose for his life. He was also sure that whatever his detractors said, he had access to GOD for all his needs and in all his troubles.
This comes out in verse 3:
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself, him who is godly. The LORD will hear when I call to Him. With such a confidence in his Divine Protector, what was his attitude towards the mockers and slanderers? Obviously he was indignant at the way they heaped scorn and derision on him and his faith, but as often happens, the best reply was silence. The only One who heard his complaint, was GOD. Nor was all that going to deter him from maintaining his walk with GOD.
Verses 4 and 5:
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. In doing so he was following the example of his glorious descendant, Messiah Ben David, of Whom we read in Isaiah 53, verse 7:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. What was the outcome of David’s believing reliance on GOD? Did GOD answer him? Yes! Abundantly! Above all the clamour of the jeers and scoffs, the joy and the peace of GOD filled his heart to such a degree that nothing could shake his confidence.
Verses 6 and 7:
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. We get a clue as to the character of the unnamed enemies of David. They did not believe in GOD and scorned those who did, as though their trust was a hopeless delusion. GOD’s response to that was to bless His believing people with a joy far transcending any earthly joy. In those days the greatest joys included the joy of an abundant harvest which spelled security for the future. David’s joy was that much greater, because in GOD he enjoyed security forever, not just for a time.
From the last verse it looks as though the scorners issued threats to intimidate those who remained unmoved by their brow-beating efforts. David was unmoved by either. Verse 8:
I will both lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. GOD is the refuge of all those who trust in Him, from the bluster of all their enemies. The Psalm ends with this note of serene confidence, a confidence we may all enjoy. The condition is a simple one: that of faith in a forgiving GOD, and a life of true obedience. Twice in this Psalm, David uses the word ‘Selah’. That means we are to pause and reflect on what has been said. May we do so, remembering that though opposition is to be expected, we need not be unduly troubled. This great blessing is reserved for the one who trusts in GOD as Abraham did. David’s peace of mind consisted in a good conscience and assured access to GOD for help and protection. Perhaps someone is ready to ask, How may I obtain this blessing? To which the answer is very clear, all these blessings come to us from the hand of our Messiah, YESHUA of Nazareth. His title in Psalm 2 is the Son of GOD. Of Him we read the following, (Psalm 2, verses 11 and 12):
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. We have exactly the same admonition in verse 5 of the Psalm we have been considering:
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. The promise is true. None whoever did so, went away disappointed.