One of the most important characteristics of David was that he was a man of prayer. Day and night, David was aware of the presence of his God, and he gained strength from that awareness. A good example of this is found in Psalm 4. This Psalm may have been written at night just prior to David going to bed.
Verse 1 shows David’s attitude as he began to present his prayer to God. Although we may not use the same words, the thoughts should be just the same when we address God the Father in prayer. As David begins his petition to God, it is clear that he is dealing with serious problems. Yet, there is no hint of pity or resentfulness. Instead, his first thoughts were directed toward those that were marching against him. David was God’s anointed. As such, it was the Lord’s will that the people follow him – not fight against him. David knew that, in spite of those against him, the Lord would hear him and answer his prayer.
In the next two verses, David may have directed his thoughts to others that may be with him. We know from 1 Kings that there were many times where David and his followers were out numbered and fugitives. It would be easy for some to become discouraged, tired, and angry. But David wrote, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.” That principle would echo down through the centuries to Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”.
The lesson of David’s words are equally valid today. Yet, how often, when we are faced with a real problem, do we heed the words of David? How often do we go to bed while we are filled with distress and anger? Do we sleep well? Do we wake up rested? No.
Then, the next day, we try to deal with our problems ALONE, and the last thing we will experience will be peace and rest. David understood that. Many years of his life were spent as a fugitive. Yet, he could find rest! How?
David wrote . . .”offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in_ the Lord”. In time of trial, the time we spend just before going to bed can be very important for us. A few moments or minutes need to be used to consider the day, and involve the Lord in helping us.
In prayer, we can ask for help from the Lord. But do we REALLY believe that the Lord helps us? One way we can know the answer to this question is to examine our practice of prayer.
How often do you pray? Where does prayer fit into your thoughts in dealing with problems? If prayer is not one of the FIRST things that you do, then you are either robbing yourself of one of the greatest sources of aid available, or you do not really believe that prayer works. Think on these things! Think about David’s dependence on the Lord, and compare it to your dependence upon the Lord.
Yes, the time before we prepare to go to sleep at night can be a time to ask for help. We can simply ask for peace to have a good night’s rest. Many of David’s problems were still present the next morning, and the same holds true for us. But, the Lord will help us to have a restful night. That alone can help us to meet and solve the problems we face.
Finally, in the evening we can get our priorities straight once again. We can pause to count our blessings, and turn the worry over to the Lord. He can handle it – we usually cannot.
We don’t know all the thoughts that went through David’s mind as he wrote this Psalm. But in spite of how tired he was, in spite of how much danger he was in, he remembered to trust and praise the Lord. We have the PROMISE of eternal life, because we are now children of God! How much more should we trust and praise our Father in Heaven?
Read the last three verses of the Psalm. Here are the words of a man of faith. Here are the words that every Christian should be able to echo, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”. Praise God that we can also say that as His Children!