Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
Affected but protected
April 18, 2021

Affected but protected

April 18, 2021

Psalm 4:1-4[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c]
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble and[d] do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

 

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Background

Psalm 4 is an individual prayer for help (see Introduction, sec. 5.2). Its occasion is the trouble caused by falsehood. The honor of the one who prays has been damaged by a lie (v. 2). In spite of distress, the prayer’s dominant mood is confidence. In that confidence the prayer petitions God to hear and help (v. 1), rebukes those who cause humiliation (vv. 2–5), and declares trust in God (vv. 6–8). In the culture of ancient Israel, honor was of the greatest value; it is in most societies. Honor is the dignity and respect that belong to a person’s position in relation to family, friends, and the community. It is an essential part of the identity that others recognize and regard in dealing with a man or a woman. In Israel its loss had tragic consequences for self-esteem and social competence. Shaming and humiliating a person was violence against them worse than physical harm. Job’s lament over his lost honor (Job 29) is eloquent testimony to the suffering caused. The fourth commandment shows the importance of the notion in the family. Though the term and the notion are not prominent in our culture, the reality and experience of it are inherent in the roles and expectations that belong to all social relations.[1]

Notes from Point 1

Point 2 

Notes from Point 2

Point 3

Notes from Point 3

Summary

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[1] James Luther Mays, Psalms, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1994), 55.

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