Do you struggle to experience true joy, especially when faced with a difficult situation? Are you happy only when things are going well? Through the life and words of David, Psalm 4 provides a wonderful example of how to have peace of mind no matter what.
We don’t know for sure what particular trial David was facing when he wrote this psalm. We do know that David was no stranger to stress. He spent years literally on the run for his life. King Saul spent much time and energy determined to kill David, the innocent victim of a madman’s jealous rage.
Psalm 4 may have been written during Saul’s reign of terror over David. Or perhaps it was the uprising led by his own son Absalom, as mentioned in the heading of Psalm 3.
Regardless, “men of rank” are causing his honor to turn into shame (Psalm 4:2). And as he does so often in his psalms of lament, David takes his complaint to God. “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!” (Psalm 4:1).
David has had enough of these men, who “love vain words and seek after lies” (Psalm 4:2). After chastising them for their evil ways, he offers the only advice that can save them from their deluded life: “Be agitated and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:4-5). In other words, believe in the God of Israel, the One who offers forgiveness to the repentant sinner.
Obviously, David is consumed with those who have made his life miserable. And rightly so. But by the end of the psalm, this man is able to say, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
This is amazing. At the beginning of the hymn we see a man drowning in a sea of unjust persecution. Yet he is able to sleep in peace. What is David’s secret? How does he pull this off?
The key to David’s peace is found in Psalm 4:6-7. “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord! You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” David has peace of mind because he is able to experience the presence of God in a most difficult situation. And for David, being with God is enough.
For the true believer, the benefits of spiritual prosperity are infinitely more valuable than those of material prosperity. Yes, God provides all our physical needs. And for some, he provides or allows an abundance of earthly wealth. But the joy we find in material possessions cannot compare to the joy of knowing God. An intimate relationship with the Creator has infinite value because our God is infinitely valuable.
Oh that we would find our ultimate satisfaction in him and him alone! Let us follow in the footsteps of David and love the Giver rather than his gifts.
Charles Spurgeon says it so well: “The true believer . . . drinks not from the muddy pools of Mammon, but from the fountain of life above. The light of God’s countenance is enough for him. This is his riches. Give him this, and he will ask no more. Christ in the heart is better than corn in the barn or wine in the vat.”
Truly, when we have God, we have enough. When our contentment is found in Jesus, we can sleep in tranquility no matter what trial engulfs us. “They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep” (Spurgeon).
Do you struggle to sleep well because the worries of the day keep you awake at night? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a treasure chest of divine promises to calm your troubled mind. Open the Word of God and dig deep. By absorbing the truth of God you can experience the presence of God. He longs to speak to you, to teach you and to satisfy you as only He can.
When you’ve had enough, God is enough. He is all you need to sleep well tonight.