Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4—Psalm 4:

I think this could be a widow’s Psalm—at least this widow's Psalm.

1) Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
2) Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
Selah.

It begins with David crying out in his distress to God. This is what I did as a new widow, and it’s what I still do. Oh, my cries and pleas are normally no longer filled with the deep, dark, distressing aches of my heart; yet I know that God, and God alone, can help me.

In the second verse, David speaks to his enemies. While I don’t have those kinds of enemies, I do daily battle with satan, and even with others who often push at me to travel a path that isn’t what God has planned for me. Without my husband to guide me, I’m more easily led by others. It’s something I have to be extra careful about it in my life as a widow.

3) But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
4) Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Selah.

Then David acknowledges that God hears when he cries out. Oh, how often in those early days did I wonder if God was listening to me. I’d ask Him over and over why He couldn’t have healed Mac’s body, why He took Mac home to glory and left me alone to deal with decisions, finances, frustrations, loneliness, and despair. Then I finally realized the God was listening to me—I just wasn’t listening to Him. God heard me then, and He hears me now—each and every day. All I have to do is cry out to God and He hears. 

I like the last portion of verse 4: meditating at night in bed, and learning to be still. It makes me think of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”, a verse that is very special to me. I’ll freely admit that, as a widow, I am more still in my personal relationship with God. It was so easy to lean on Mac, to turn to him for comfort, encouragement, and strength. Now I absolutely must be still and listen to God, letting Him provide my comfort, encouragement, and strength.

5) Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
6) Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!

Trust. It’s hard for many of us, but it’s harder for a widow. I might smile and tell you all is well, but deep inside, there are times when I am floundering and totally at a loss for what I need to do. At times like that, I try to remember Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

7) You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
8) In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

David closes this Psalm with words that bring tears of joy to my eyes, and lifts my weary soul; for God has “put gladness in my heart”. God alone has given me relief from my sorrow. He has heard my pleas for comfort and strength. He has faithfully given me joy and gladness in my heart, allowing me to face each day in His strength. I rest and sleep totally trusting Him for my safety, my health, my comfort, my joy—all my needs.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
Selah.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB