Crying Out for God's Voice
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4)
“Answer me when I call” are the words that begin this Psalm. No doubt we have all been there. We have all known a longing for God to hear us as we pour our heart to him. Yet we should not think that this is the desperate cry of one who calls out into emptiness, wondering if there even is a God. No! Clearly David has known God. Specifically, he has known how God has given relief in a time of distress.
Here is a hint of how we can find words to speak of God when we are unsure of what to say. We can remember his goodness shown to us in the past. Take a look at verse 7 as David remembers the joy that God has placed in his heart. He insists that the joy he has known from God’s hand is more than the joy known by others who have an abundance of food and wine. For some, joy is dependent upon circumstances - joy can be known when life is going well. Yet David remembers an abundant joy that God has given him that surpasses any joy dependent upon circumstances.
Commentators love to categorize psalms with a wide range of psalm types. Interestingly, Psalm 4 is listed both as an individual lament as well as a psalm of confidence. Perhaps this can be a model for our prayer life. We can come before God lamenting a situation we don’t fully understand and yet stand in a confidence in a God whom we trust.