I have been spending time working through the Psalms lately. Here is how I have been doing it:
- Reading the Psalm and spending some time thinking about it’s words
- Putting the Psalm in my own words – This gives me a chance to think about what it means to me.
- Reflecting on how it speaks to my life at the moment. I think of the emotions that it brings out and what it says about what I am going through or have gone through. Then writing a brief reflection about this.
I have found that doing this is enriching for my prayer life, my relationship with the Scriptures and my devotional life in general. As the Psalmist says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”.
Psalm 4 (NIV)
1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c] 3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and[d] do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
God, do you hear me?
I am waiting for your answer now.
Life feels dark, and uncertain,
I long for a rest from the constant pressure of life,
It never seems to let up,
Please hear me today – Listen to my cry.
You promise that you will hear me, your child,
I have sought to live how you want me to,
I have turned my life inside out,
To make sure that there is nothing that can distract me,
From your call to live wholeheartedly for you.
I don’t care what other people say about what is important,
Money, success, career, or anything that can distract,
From opening my life completely to you,
And being completely happy with what you provide.
I will be content,
I will sleep well,
That I am safe in your care.
This Psalm’s last stanza has the sentence, “In peace I will lie down and sleep”.
I have always found that when I am anxious my sleep gets disrupted. When I was depressed the one thing that I desired above all else was to sleep through the night. I dreaded going to sleep because I realised that I would wake too soon. I knew that I would wake with the problems of the day ahead tossing around my head. I felt like there was never any rest.
When David says that in peace he will sleep I understand how important this is. To be able to say tonight because God is watching over me that it doesn’t matter what else is going on I will sleep is a statement about the blessing that comes with being right with God.