Today's scripture is Psalm 4. Go here to read it in your preferred version.
This may be my newest favorite chapter in the Bible... for now anyway :)
when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I
was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
3 But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
So many of these psalms show David crying out to God in desperate need. I believe he does this because he 100% believes that God is hearing him when he cries out. In times past, he says, God has relieved him when he was in distress... why shouldn't He relieve David this time? In verse 2 David speaks to the men who are uprising against him. In my study of the psalms I am starting to believe that David was one of the most persecuted people who ever lived! He basically says a prayer and then says to these guys - How long is this going to go on? How long are you going to come after me? You're loving lies and sharing these wicked fabrications... Yet nothing is knocking David off his throne. He wonders, how long will this continue?
God is watching over us - Christians; godly people. If I need something from God, He wants me to take the action to call out to Him. Admit my need. Admit my dependence on Him. And when I humble myself and do that, He certainly hears me. David tells these people to do this - humble yourselves. Stand in awe of God. Tremble before Him out of respect. I think David is saying here - take some time to be still. When you lay down at night and it's just you, your heart, your thoughts, and God (even if you don't believe in God), think about the sin you've done. Did it accomplish anything? Did it do good for someone? I can't think of a sin that doesn't cause some kind of harm in some way. We just don't like to think of it.
Yesterday, something was irritating me and I snapped at Stephen even though he wasn't part of my irritation. My sin of anger harmed him - he was innocent - it harmed our relationship even if only for that split second - I didn't have respect for him (fortunately he is good-natured and it didn't turn into a full-out battle!) - and it harmed my children because they heard me disrespect my husband and their father. Not a good example. So no, I didn't kill anyone yesterday or beat my kids or rob a bank. But sin does harm and it does have consequences.
David says when you have the fear of God in you, you won't want to sin. You will think of that sin and you will determine to "sin not" - I will not do that again! So we are not perfect, and we know this, but strive to be Christ-like every single day. And yes, sometimes it's moment to moment!
David tells them this relationship with God is open to ALL. Offer your sacrifices to God. Now, these sacrifices are not physical animals, but ourselves. Say, I am laying down my life to You, God. My wants. The things I think I need and deserve. I'm sacrificing this and putting all my trust in God because I know He's got control of this.
In verse 6 we see there are still people who just can't believe without seeing. Or even worse, they believe everything they hear. And when those things inevitably fail, they quit believing in anything. When God shines His light on us and in us, it makes all the difference. That is different from any "fad" or cult you will find. It is unspeakable joy and incomparable feelings.
Verse 7 tells of this joy - there is more gladness in our hearts with God's presence than being fully fed and having a full wine cellar. In other words - how happy are we when our job/career is multiplying and being fruitful? Our construction business is booming. Our restaurant had to extend hours. We're seeing children learn at our hands or people being healed. Our business is being fruitful and we are benefiting from it. Our house is full of food and we have no want for anything. In those scenarios, we are HAPPY, right??
But no matter what joy this brings, it doesn't compare to the joy of salvation.
We can sleep well knowing that God is our safety. I have nothing to fear.