We meet someone who is rejoicing in his faith. The poet is content, while his friends are disheartened and discontented, because they are passing through difficult times. In the original version of the first verse, the poet stated that his prayer had been answered. On many occasions when he had been in trouble, God granted him help and righteousness (salvation) and answered his prayers.
By faith the poet knows that God Himself is the motivating power behind his personal experiences. Anyone who dares to slander and tells lies about him, not only impugns his dignity as a human being, but also indirectly attacks his God. That is why he wants his friends to open their eyes and see the truth. They must turn away from their material afflictions to God, who will also be their helper. Therefore the poet offers them pastoral advice. Yes, he wants his friends to come to realize why they doubt and slander him. They will be terrified by the thought that they dared to distrust God, and they must repent. A heart that is inwardly disposed to fear God and trust in him is all that really matters.
As the poet trusts God, he wants this for his friends too. Though he has strong faith in God, he is not blind to the fact that so many people are in despair and respond to temptations. He understands that they are worried and that, in their distress, they feel urged to ask what God is doing in this matter.
The poet unites everyone in the priestly prayer which comes from the Aaronite benediction:
Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us,o Lord….. the light of your face.(6)
The only thing that really matters to him is that God must lead those who have gone astray onto the right way. Also, that they will be awaken to that joy in God which he himself has been able to keep in his heart, despite of all the adversity that has happened to him.
He delights in God. This is supreme happiness and it gives him freedom from any dependence on earthly things. He has a joyful heart, even when he is deprived of all earthly possessions. He is lifts his eyes up in gratitude to God who has given him this joyful heart as his most precious possession. So he lies down at night and sleeps at peace in God. He knows that is in God’s arm that he is well sheltered, and he is at peace.
And us, how much do we still worry about our life: our difficulties and struggles? Are we content because God is our God and we trust Him, we know He is our shelter and strenghth, day and night?As a child, I was taught the following prayer which reminds me of the Psalm 4 : Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.
May the Lord look on us with favour and give us peace today.
Short question for reflection: Do you also experience the joy of God as your Father, your Saviour and keeper?
Written by Rev Kathleen Smith; Minister: Ned Hervormde Church Cape Town and trained Churches Channels of Hope Facilitator.