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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-8

Psalms 4:1-8

The fourth psalm is to the chief musician on Neginoth. Now Neginoth is a stringed instrument, and it is mentioned in connection with several of the Psalms--3, 5, 53, 54, 60, 66, and 75. So it is some kind of a stringed instrument that they had in those days. And so this psalm was to be accompanied as they sang it with this particular stringed instrument. David probably wrote not just the psalm, but the music, and also scored for the Neginoth so that the Neginoth player could play along the chords with them as they were singing.

Here me 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 ( Psalms 4:1 ).

This is really a prayer of the evening. As David is calling unto God.

O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after deceitfulness [or deception]? But know the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still ( Psalms 4:2-4 ).

In the evening, just lying there, commune with your own heart, just be still before the Lord. Just let your heart be in communion with Him.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. There be many that say, Who will show us any good? ( Psalms 4:5-6 )

Now, again, in the last psalm he was talking about those that say there is no help for him in God. There are always those negative people around. And there are always those who are going to say, "Who is going to show us any good?" David's answer,

LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. For thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased ( Psalms 4:6-7 ).

That is, those people who are negative about God. "What good does it do to pray? What good does it do to worship God? Who's gonna show you any good?" David says, "Lord, you have put happiness, gladness in my heart, more than theirs when they are in the midst of their thanksgiving, their harvest, their wine."

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me to dwell in safety ( Psalms 4:8 ).

So the glorious ability of the child of God to sleep even in the midst of problems, because of our trust in the Lord.

Psalms 5:1-12

Psalms 5:1-12 is a prayer of the morning. Psalms 4:1-8 was the prayer of the evening, and now for the morning.

Give ear unto my words, O LORD; consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and look up ( Psalms 5:1-3 ).

This again is upon a Neginoth, the psalm of David. And he said,

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all of the workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak deceitfully: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man ( Psalms 5:4-6 ).

Now the bloody, this is an old English kind of a word. Over in England to say, "You are a bloody bloke," is really a bad thing. Where's Malcolm? He'll tell you that in England the word bloody is really a gutter type of word. You have got to really watch your language when you go really from one culture to the other, because you can be saying things that are sort of weird.

When I was over in England I was speaking to a group of ministers, and I was sharing with them a little bit about the history of Calvary Chapel. And how before we came, the group of people that were praying whether or not to try to keep going or just to quit. And they were discouraged; there were only about twenty-five people here. They had a little church down here on Church Street here in Costa Mesa, and they had gone for a couple of years and were actually just deciding to whether or not to try to go or not. And so a prophecy came to them. And in the prophecy the Lord said that, "Chuck Smith is going to come down and be your new pastor and the church is going to be blessed. You are going to out grow this facility; you are going to have to move onto the bluff overlooking the bay. The church will be going on the radio nationally and it will be known around the world." Twenty-five discouraged people ready to quit and a prophecy like that, and you have the same attitude as the guy upon whom the king leaned when Elisha said, "Tomorrow they will be selling a barrel of wheat for sixty cents in the gate of the city." And he said, "If God could open up the windows in heaven, could such a thing be?" It seemed utterly impossible. The prophecy went on to say, "As soon as Chuck comes down, he's not going to like the church. He is going to suggest that you remodel it. Remodel the platform and all." And, it was just an encouragement, "Get in and do it."

They didn't tell me anything about the prophecy. In fact, when I finally said, "Yes, I will come down," they called me back the next day and they said, "Don't bother. We have decided to quit. We just have had it." I said, "Hey, I have already resigned. I'm on my way, you know." So the first Sunday, all of us went out for lunch together to the Sizzler. And I took the napkin on the table, and I said to the guys, "We really need to remodel the church, and here is what we need to do to the platform." And I began to draw on the napkin, remodeling design for the church. Now, they didn't tell me about the prophecy. I didn't know anything about it, but they all began to get real excited. They said, "That sounds great! Lets start this week." And I thought, "Wow! This is all right. I've got an eager crew here, you know."

And so I was relating this to the ministers in England how that I took out a napkin and I began to draw the plans on the napkin. Afterwards my host over there said, "Um, in England we call baby diapers a napkin." So he said, "All of those ministers were giggling because they pictured you drawing plans on a baby diaper." So it is interesting how one culture changes the thoughts and the meanings. Of course, that's not quite as bad as when I was in New Guinea and I decided to use one of Romaine's phrases, but never again. As I, at the close of the missionary conference, told those Wycliffe missionaries how the conference was just such a great blessing to us. I said, "I've just been blessed out of my gourd since I have been here." Not realizing that New Guinea tribesmen often wear gourds over a certain part of their body. The place broke up.

Now I don't know what the word bloody means really, but it's a dirty word in England. So being an English translation of a Hebrew word, it's a word that doesn't really commentate to us the dirtiness of it, that it is. It is a dirty kind of a man. But it doesn't really connotate in our minds. But David used it several times in the psalm concerning the deceitful man and the evil man. So he speaks, "The Lord will abhor the bloody and the deceitful man." That will mean much more to an Englishman than it does you.

But as for me ( Psalms 5:7 ),

Now here is the contrast. Now, as I told you, poetry to them is contrasting ideas or the compounding of an idea. Here comes the contrast,

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee ( Psalms 5:7-10 ).


But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defend them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee ( Psalms 5:11 ).

This is a beautiful psalm, really. "Let all of these who put their trust in Thee rejoice." If you put your trust in the Lord, then you should be rejoicing, shouting for joy. Why? Because God defends you. "Those that love Thy name, let them be joyful in Thee." God does want the consciousness of our daily walk in life to be that of joy.

For thou, LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor will thou encircle him as with a shield ( Psalms 5:12 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-4.html. 2014.
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