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Evening Prayer of a Christian in Every Kind of Trouble.
David, in his flight before Absalom, had come to Mahanaim, on the east side of Jordan, 2 Samuel 17:24-Ezekiel :. He had a number of faithful men with him, but the army of Absalom, recruited from all Israel, was much larger. In order, therefore, to stimulate his own courage and to revive the drooping spirits of his men. David wrote this hymn, which, on account of its divine inspiration, has become a song of consolation for all those who are in trouble. To the chief musician, the man in charge of the liturgical music in the Temple-services, on Neginoth, the stringed instruments of the Temple-orchestra, a psalm of David.
v. 1. Hear me when I call, offering ears favorable to his cause, O God of my righteousness, literally, "my God of righteousness," since Jehovah is the Vindicator of righteousness when it is falsely represented and persecuted. Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress, making room, space, for his anxious heart when he was in straits. Have mercy upon me, the idea of unmerited favor coming to the front here, and hear my prayer. David urges his fellowship with Jehovah and the fact of his recent deliverance as reasons why God should show him further favors. He now, in a rhetorical manner, turns to the followers of Absalom, the proud and rebellious company.
v. 2. O ye sons of men, men of prominence as many of them were, how long will ye turn my glory, the kingly dignity and authority given to him by God, into shame? How long will ye love vanity, the deceitful character of their rebellious plans, and seek after leasing, the lying and falsehood with which they tried to bolster up their schemes to dethrone David? Selah.
v. 3. But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself; He had, in a wonderful manner, selected David, and elevated him to the royal dignity. The Lord will hear when I call unto Him; this was the confidence of his pious heart.
v. 4. Stand in awe, trembling before the wrath of God, and sin not, considering carefully lest they definitely endanger their own salvation; commune with your own heart upon your bed, deliberating when the silence of night was suited for such reflections, and be still, ceasing from their rebellious activities. Selah.
v. 5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, showing the soundness of their penitence, the real character of their conversion, by sacrifices of atonement, and put your trust in the Lord, who would abundantly pardon after such an evidence of true godly sorrow.
v. 6. There be many that say, even in the little band of his faithful followers, Who will show us any good? Would it be possible for them to experience deliverance in this time of great trouble? It is the cry which is apt to come to the lips of the truest children of God when all hope seems to be cut off. Therefore David's urgent prayer now rises to the throne of Jehovah. Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us, in the blessing of God's kindness and mercy which He Himself had laid upon His children in the Aaronic benediction, Numbers 6:26. And so the pleading of David changes into a confident assertion.
v. 7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, causing him to rejoice in the midst of his outward affliction and to await the deliverance of Jehovah with calm trust, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. In spite of the fact that the party of Absalom had rich provisions at their disposal, the joyful confidence of David was a richer treasure than all the abundance of their barns and cellars. The conclusion of the prayer, therefore, is in line with David's trust in Jehovah and in the certainty of his salvation.
v. 8. I will both lay me down in peace, without further thought of worry, and sleep, immediately drop off-into a refreshing sleep, undisturbed by anxious thoughts; for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety, under the shelter of God's protecting hand the believer is always safe. For a Christian to spend the night in restless worry and forego the pleasure of a refreshing sleep is not only foolish, but may also verge on the sinful, namely, if it is equivalent to forsaking his trust in Jehovah.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent