Friday, December 27, 2013

Tom Lowe


Psalm 4—Talking to God and Men


1 Hear 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.

2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.

3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

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




This Psalm is titled, To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. In it David pours out his complaint against slanderous enemies and finds peace and refuge in God.



1 Hear 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.

Hear me when I call.


David speaks first to God, and then to men. This is the right method; and wouldn’t it be great if we spoke more words to God than we do to men? When we are maligned, and slandered by others, as David was here, we should, by his example, make God acquainted with our circumstance. But why does David only beg for a hearing and mercy in general instead of informing God of his particular grievances? Perhaps it was because he looked upon the favor of God as the ultimate blessing. David would really rather have God’s love and favor than all the good in this world; and therefore, he so whole-heartedly begged for it above anything else.


Can you hear the passion in his voice as he cries out to God? He doesn’t want to just cast up words towards heaven. He needs God’s attention to his present problem. Often power in prayer is lacking because there is little passion in prayer. It isn’t that we persuade God by emotional displays, but God wants us to care deeply about the things He cares deeply about. The prophet Isaiah spoke with sorrow about the lack of this in Israel: “And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You” (Isaiah 64:7). This is a good example of David stirring himself up to take hold of God.


O God of my righteousness.

This expression may mean either “Oh, my righteous God,” or “The foundation, source, or author of my righteousness.” Matthew Henry included this statement in his commentary on Psalm 4: "God Himself is not merely a righteous God in his own right but He is also the author of my righteous disposition." God is indeed the author of all the good that might be done by anyone.

David knew that his righteousness came from God, and not from himself. He calls upon the God who makes him righteous.

Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.

The word “enlarged” as it is used here means to set free. He calls aloud for God’s assistance; You delivered me from my former troubles, temporal and spiritual, which makes me hope thou wilt still take pity upon me, and grant the humble petition which I present unto thee. God will surely come to the aid of his own in the midst of their greatest distress; and because they have made him the God of their mountains, he will be the God of their valleys also.

David was an Old Testament type of Christ when it comes to distress (suffering, trouble, and stress). As an experienced warrior and conqueror, he had been familiar with dangers and deliverances, and his faith is now encouraged from the past. For example, he could have been killed by Saul casting a javelin at him; and when his house was watched by Saul’s men, he was let down through a window and escaped; and when he was shut in at Keilah, where Saul thought he had him trapped; and at other times, to which he may be referring to here and in Psalm 18:19“He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”  

Have mercy upon me.

The psalmist pleads for mercy, not on the basis of any merit or worthiness of his own, but instead, he asks for the grace and mercy of God; and he is aware of his sin, both original and actual, so he pleads for pardoning grace and mercy. The words may be rendered, "be gracious unto me,” or "show me favor." Surely, David was not thinking of us when he made this plea, but all sensible sinners should follow his example and ask God for mercy; we don’t need to beg Him, because Christ has already paid for our sins and He is eager to forgive us, and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. All the saints have access to Him as the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort, and provider of every mercy, both secular and spiritual.

David is following a familiar pattern where he uses past mercy as a ground for future help. “God, I know you haven’t blessed me thus far to abandon me, so have mercy on me.” According to Spurgeon, “This is another instance of David’s common habit of pleading past mercies as a ground for present favor.” (Spurgeon)

 And hear my prayer.

And hear my prayer is the same petition as that in the beginning of the verse; appeal and prayer are the same thing.

Jesus told about a certain man who prayed thus within himself, saying, "I thank Thee that I am not as other men." He was proud of himself, and he paraded his personal piety before God. He, however, went away unaccepted. His prayer didn’t get any higher than the rafters. If you want to stand tall in God’s eyes, humble yourself before Him, and become like a little child

2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.

This verse describes a wicked and perverse generation in the time of David; but it could just as rightly be applied to our generation, since it can be said of the wicked of both generations:

1. They make our glory our shame.

2. They love vanity,

3. They seek after leasing (they lie).


O ye sons of men.

The reference, according to how the Jewish interpreters explain it, is to great men (here called the sons of men), the nobles of Israel; such as Ahithophel, and others, who were in the conspiracy with Absalom [“And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom” (2 Samuel 15:12)]. Likewise, the enemies of Christ were the kings and princes of the earth, and the rulers of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the chief priests and elders; and others like them, generally speaking, have been the persecutors of the saints. They were men of power and authority, who insisted on dignity and honor, and who were in high places, and boasted of their titles and wealth. These are the men to whom the psalmist addresses the following remarks.


How long will ye turn my glory into shame?

By glory, he means one of the following:

a)     “God,” who was his glory [“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head” (Psalm 3:3)], and whom they chided when they said there was no help for him in Him.

b)     His tongue, the instrument of praise, and the songs of praise he expressed with it [“The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8], which they jeered and scoffed at.

c)      His royal glory, dignity and majesty, which they attempted to veil by casting him down by vilifying him, and dethroning him, and setting up Absalom in his place.

Wicked men do all they can to turn the glory of the saints into shame, by attacking their character with lies, thus ruining their good name and reputation among men. Jesus is our Glory and the Lifter up of our heads. Those experiences in life which men may call our shame, He may well call our glory. Here is an example in line with David's words. The Cross of Christ was a cross of shame. Have we not read He "endured the Cross, despising the shame"? The Cross was to the Jews a stumbling-block, but to us who believe, it is the power and wisdom and the glory of God.

How long will ye love vanity?

How long will you love a vain thing, is better. Such as the placing of Absalom upon the throne of David, on which their minds were made up and their hearts set to do. It was that same vain imagination of the Jews that pleased them when Jesus died and they believed His name would perish. On the other hand, vain describes all the attempts of wicked men to ruin and destroy the people and interest of Christ; for no weapon formed against them shall prosper.

The wicked love vanity. Moses, when he was advanced in years, turned his back upon all of Egypt's treasures and pleasures. He chose rather to suffer affliction with the children of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

The wicked run after vanity. The lure of gold and the glitter of honor is, to the men of sin, a sweet morsel. The true Christian prefers to go outside the camp, bearing the reproach of Christ. He prefers shame and spittle with Christ, to worldly honor and pomp. How often are the rich immeasurably poor; and the poor immeasurably rich!


And seek after leasing?

By “leasing,” is meant "a lie"; or that which deceives, as a lie does: and such were all consultations and schemes of the great men of Israel against David: and so the Jews may be said to seek after a lie, when they seek after another Messiah besides Jesus of Nazareth: for every one of them proves to be a false Messiah. And the same can be said of all who seek after and embrace false doctrines, errors, and heresies, and are wanting to believe them. Now the psalmist suggests that these great men were obstinate, and continued in these sinful practices; and that in the final analysis all their efforts would prove to be vain and fruitless.

The wicked will run after the lie of the devil, faster than they run after the truth of God. They will seek false gain, more than the lasting riches. They follow the lustings of the flesh, more than the leadings of the Spirit. I loved my father. But he was a terribly prejudiced man and I think he hated liars more than anything else. I heard he say more than once, “That man will lie even if the truth would serve him better.”

How great is the folly of the ungodly! Satan comes to them in the cunning of deceitfulness, with signs and lying wonders. The ungodly refuse the love of the truth, and therefore God sends upon them strong delusions that they may believe a lie.

Let us not go coveting after the things of this world, but seek the things which are freely given us of God.


On this word; see Psalm 3:2.

 3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

But know that the LORD

In Hebrew, the LORD” is represented by Jehovah, the Scripture name of the Supreme Being. This is a name peculiarly appropriate to the eternal Spirit, the unchangeable God, who describes himself thus, I am that I am.

Hath set apart him that is godly for himself

“Set apart” as it is used here means

chosen.” David could say, “You have set me apart, and wonderfully separated me, bypassing the royal family, and have called me by name, and chosen me out of all the tribes and families of Israel, and out of my father’s family, though I was the youngest of them, and thought by Samuel and by my father, I was the most unlikely to receive this honor.  

David knew that he and other godly people were set apart for God. There are many reasons why we set things apart.

·         We set things apart for our own enjoyment

·         We set things apart for greater purity

·         We set things apart for special service

For all these reasons and more, God sets us apart unto Himself.

For himself” means “taken under His peculiar care and protection”; and “him that is godly” means “the man that truly fears, loves, and serves God. It is generally supposed that David spoke here primarily of himself, and of his own title to the throne; that he is the one meant by the godly man, whom God had set apart for himself, and who did not usurp or assume for himself a dignity that was not selected for him by God; and therefore the opposition they farmed against him and to his advancement was very criminal, inasmuch as they fought against God: therefore, in the end all their efforts would prove vain and ineffective.

The greatest of all blessings is that of belonging to that special group of human beings whom God has set apart from all mankind as his very own people. God will nurture and encourage his children; he will hear them when they pray; he will forgive their sins and mistakes, provided only that they repent, acknowledge their lapses and seek the Father's loving forgiveness.

David was a godly man as well as God’s man, but his enemies maligned and denounced him, as if he were a deplorable hypocrite and impostor, who only pretended to be religious for his own ambitious ends. But David could say, “God has called me a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14); and I believe that both my own conscience and the general course of my life bear me witness that I am what He said of me.” David gives himself this testimony, not out vanity, but merely because he was forced to do it for his own vindication, because of the lies of his enemies.

The LORD will hear when I call unto him.

God has, in like manner, set apart the Lord Jesus for Himself, that merciful One, Him that is godly, and those that attempt to hinder His advancement will certainly be confounded, for the Father will hear him always. But, as has been intimated above, David certainly meant his words to be understood of every godly man. All the godly are God’s chosen, or elect people; His separate and sealed ones, whom He knows to be His, on whom He hath stamped His image, and who hear and obey His words. These belong to the Lord, who distinguishes them with uncommon favors. They have a special interest in heaven, are under God’s peculiar care; those that touch them touch the apple of His eye; and He will make their persecutors know it sooner or later; and they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in the day when I make up my jewels. “Understand this,” says the psalmist, “let godly people know it, and let them never alienate themselves from Him who chose them and set them apart; let wicked people know it, and take heed how they hurt those whom God protects.

“The Lord will hear” when I call to Him: The ungodly have a disaster waiting for them, but the godly have a great reward waiting for them. This is why David knows the Lord will hear when he calls (prays) to Him. Each Christian should have the same assurance. They should be confident that God will hear their prayers. When prayer seems ineffective it is worth it to take a spiritual inventory to see if there is a reason for unanswered prayer. The Bible tells us there are many reasons why prayer may not be answered, such as:

·         Not abiding in Jesus (John 15:7)

·         Unbelief (Matthew 17:20-21)

·         Failure to Fast (Matthew 17:21)

·         A Bad Marriage Relationship (1 Peter 3:7)

·         Unconfessed Sin (James 5:16)

·         Lying and Deceitfulness (Psalms 17:1)

·         Lack of Bible Reading and Bible Teaching (Proverbs 28:9)

·         Trusting in the Length or Form of Prayer (Matthew 6:7)

David’ message to his enemies is, “The Lord will hear when I call unto Him; therefore I am assured that God will hear my prayers, and save me out of your hands. But know this; that you fight not against me, but against the Lord.”

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

Stand in awe, and sin not:

Awe is defined as an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. But in this case, the emotion is anger; “Be angry, and do not sin.” With the ungodliness around him, David had reason to be angry but he had no reason to sin. He reminds himself to not sin in his anger, and to find consolation in meditation before the LORD; but he may also have said this to his own followers as a warning against excessive anger and its natural result, undue violence. Many think the apostle took Ephesians 4:26 from here—“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Compare this injunction by Paul with what David says next: “Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” Anger cools if a little time is allowed to pass—if a night is used for reflection, and no action is taken until tomorrow, the controversy, whatever it may be, may be settled without resorting to violence, or saying or doing something that might be regretted later.

Commune with your own heart upon your bed,

“Commune (or meditate) with your own heart” is similar to those common sayings we use today—"Listen to your better judgment," or "Use your common (good) sense."

Meditate within your heart: David speaks of the Christian practice of meditation, not the eastern practice of meditation. In Christian meditation we fill our heart and mind with God’s word. In eastern meditation the idea is to empty the heart and mind, leaving it open for deceiving spirits.

Communicate with your own heart; when you have no one to speak with, talk to yourself. Ask yourself, “Why was I made, what kind of life have I led, how much time have I wasted, whose love have I abused, and do I deserve God’s wrath?” Look back over your life and ask yourself, “How have I improved my talents, how true or false have I been to the Lord’s trust, what provisions have I made for the hour of my death, and what preparations have I made for the Great Day when I must appear before my Lord?”

 “Upon your bed” implies secrecy, and it is the best time to make these inquiries of our self. The silent night is a good time to speak to yourself and to God. When we lie upon our bed is a good time to meditate on what has transpired during the day, since the dark prevents our eyes from being distracted, and the silence frees our ears from the noise that keeps us from concentrating. The most successful searches have been made in the night time, when the soul is completely shut up in the earthly house of the body, and there are no visits from strangers to interrupt our thoughts. Surely, then, the bed is not a bad place to examine and search into the state of the soul.

And be still.

When we are lying on our beds and it is dark and quiet it may feel as if we have retired from the world, and that is usually the best time to commune with the Lord. The bed is not only for sleep: "Talk with your own heart upon your bed, and be still." Be still or quiet, and then commune with your heart; and if you will commune with your heart, God will come and commune with your heart, too, his Spirit will give you a loving visit and visions of his love.

“Be still” is good, practical, advice, but it’s hard to follow. At times we need God’s grace in order to be still.


On this word; see Psalm 3:2.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness.

Sacrifices of victims is not what is meant here, because if this psalm was composed at the time of David's exile, victims could be offered nowhere but at Jerusalem. We may suppose that he is making reference to those sacrifices which are most truly "sacrifices of righteousness," which would be "a broken spirit, and a broken and a contrite heart," which God "will not despise"—The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Isaiah 61:8 states, “For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.” The prophet says that the Lord wants our offerings to be sacrifices of righteousness—Offer for sacrifice things obtained righteously, for the Lord hates robbery for burnt offering. This could have been said concerning the unrighteous acquisitions of Absalom and his men, and who were now in possession of Jerusalem, and of the altars of the Lord, and were sacrificing on them; and were very proud of themselves for doing it. Sacrifices of righteousness are to be made according to the law, and were offered in the right manner; animals which were not maimed and were without any blemish on them—“And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD” (Malachi 1:13). But the important ingredient in any sacrifice was not the animal, it was that it must be offered up in faith—faith in the great sacrifice, Christ; for without faith, it is impossible to please God by any sacrifice. And this view is confirmed by the following clause, “Put your trust in the Lord.” Moreover, righteousness, to the Jews, signifies alms, benevolence, showing mercy to the indigent; and acts of liberality are sacrifices, with which God is well pleased; and which are preferred by Him to the sacrifices of the ceremonial law—“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). The sacrifices also of a broken heart, and of a contrite spirit, are those which God appreciates; he dwells with those that have them.

And put your trust in the LORD.

“Put your trust in the Lord,” because sacrifice without faith is futile. Even "sacrifices of righteousness," to be of any service, must be accompanied by trust in the Lord. Put your trust in the Lord: not in your strength, in horses and chariots, and numbers of men; nor in wise counsels, nor in riches, nor in fleshly privileges, nor in works of righteousness, or sacrifices of righteousness: for though they are to be performed, they are not to be trusted in; and don’t even trust in your own hearts. And while the psalmist is striking at the false confidence of the men he is addressing, he may at the same time be thought to be encouraging those that were with him to trust in the Lord, Jehovah, the Son of God, who was spoken of by him before as the object of trust [“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12]; to trust in Him for the acceptance of their persons and sacrifices of righteousness; and in his righteousness for justification; in his blood for pardon; in his sacrifice for payment of sin; in his fullness for daily supplies; and in his power for protection and safety. And it is right to trust in him at all times; in times of affliction, temptation, and desertion: he is always the same; in him is everlasting strength; he has a desire as well as an ability to help and comfort, and no one who ever trusted in him was ever sorry they did, for they have peace and safety, and blessings that flow to them like manna from heaven.

David knew the value of religious observance (offering sacrifices), yet he also knew that they could not replace trust in the Lord. When religious observance is coupled with true trust in God, we draw near to God and experience the benefits of drawing near.

We learn from this verse that there are two things which are required of every one of us:

1.       That we serve Him: "Offer sacrifices to Him, our own selves first, and then your best sacrifices.’’ But they must be sacrifices of righteousness, that is, good works, all the fruits of the love of God and our neighbor, and all the instances of a religious conversation, which are better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices. Let all your devotions come from an upright heart; let all your alms be sacrifices of righteousness. God will not accept the sacrifices of the unrighteous; they are an abomination—“The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats” (Isa. 1:11).

2.      That we confide in him. We put our trust in the Lord. Serve God without any reservations, or any fear of losing anything because of it. Honor him, by trusting in him only, and not in your wealth or in your own strength; trust in his providence, and lean not to your own understanding; trust in his grace, and don’t go about establishing your own righteousness or sufficiency. We must preach to ourselves the doctrine of the eliciting nature of sin, the lying vanity of the world, and the unspeakable happiness of God’s people; and we must press upon ourselves the duties of fearing God, conversing with our own hearts, and offering spiritual sacrifices; and we must ask of God grace to think and do according to these verses.

6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.


This is not a pure translation. The word “any” is not in the original text, nor is anything equivalent to it; and many have quoted it, and preached upon the text, placing the principal emphasis on this illegitimate word.


“There be many” (multitudes of men of every rank, class, race, nationality, etc.) that say, “Who will show us any good?”—That is, “Who will heap honors upon us? Who will point out the way to wealth and luxury? Who will present new sources of pleasure, so that we may indulge our appetites, and actually perform what we desire?” This is the gist of what the sacred writer intended by this question, but in the second half of this verse he expresses his own wiser sentiments in opposition to it, in which, is found an undeniable proof; “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.”


“Who will show us any good?”—Experience loudly testifies that what he suggests here is a false view of human happiness, and a fatal error, because reason plainly teaches that honors, riches, and sensual pleasures are as light as vanity, as fleeting as a bubble, and as thin and unsubstantial as air. Man wants good and he hates evil, because it causes him pain, suffering, and death; and he wishes to find that supreme good which will content his heart, and save him from evil. But men mistake this good. They look for a good that will gratify their passions; they have no idea of any happiness that does not come to them through the medium of their senses. Therefore they reject spiritual good, and they reject the Supreme God, by whom alone all the powers of the soul of man can be gratified.


“Lift thou up the light of thy countenance”—this alone, the light of thy countenance—thy peace and approval, constitute the supreme good. This is what we want, wish, and pray for. This is the wish of the godly. The wish of the worldling is “Who will shew us any good;” they are engaged in purposes of gain, pleasure, or ambition; the godly, on the other hand, asked only for the favor of God—the light of the divine countenance. The phrase, “to lift up the light of thy countenance” occurs frequently in the Scriptures, and is expressive of favor and friendship. When we are angry or displeased, the face seems covered with a dark cloud; when pleased, it brightens up and expresses warm-heartedness. There is undoubtedly allusion in this expression to the sun as it rises free from clouds and storms, seeming to smile upon the world. It may be added here, that what the psalmist regarded as the “supreme good”—the favor and friendship of God—is expressive of true piety in all ages and at all times. While the world is busy seeking happiness in other things—in wealth, pleasure, partying, ambition, sensual delights—the child of God feels that true happiness is to be found only in religion, and in the service and friendship of the Creator; and, after all the anxious inquiries which men make, and the various experiments tried in succeeding ages, to find the source of true happiness, all who ever find it will be led to seek it where the psalmist said his happiness was found—in the light of the countenance of God.


The favor of God, and his approval, are absolutely necessary to the happiness of mankind. The displeasure of our Maker includes in it the utmost distress and dishonor; but his favor includes every thing great, good, and honorable, therefore the devout prayer of the psalmist will be the fervent and humble supplication of every wise and virtuous mind—“Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” “For the understanding of this phrase,” says Dr. Dodd, “and several other passages in the Psalms, it must be remembered, that when Moses had prepared the ark, in which he deposited the tables of the covenant, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle; and after this, wherever the ark resided, God always manifested his peculiar presence among his people, by a glorious visible appearance from the mercy-seat, and this continued as long as Solomon’s temple lasted. It is this which is always alluded to where mention is made in the Psalms of the light of God’s countenance, or, his making his face to shine. Now as this was a standing miraculous testimony of God’s peculiar providence over the Jews, hence those expressions, of his making his face to shine, his lifting up the light of his countenance, and the like, did in common use signify his being gracious unto them, and taking them under his immediate protection. They are used in this sense Numbers 6:24-26—“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." In like manner the hiding of God’s face meant the withdrawing of his favor and protection from them.


Isn’t this exhibited in the world every day? While some are sending out their thoughts, and wishes, and expectations, to invite anything that will feed their vanity or satisfy their sensual desires; the people of God are looking up to Jesus, and asking for a view of him who is the light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. Precious Jesus! be my light, my life, my portion, and I shall need no other.


7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.


David is an example to the “depending-ones.” Despite his sufferings and calamities, God has looked on him, and "put gladness in his heart"—a gladness which far exceeds that of his adversaries. Though they are prosperous, and their corn and wine have increased, and though they enjoy all the outward material blessings promised to Israel—the wheat and the grape—David must depend upon the generosity of friends to supply everything he needs, yet he would not change places with them. The spiritual joy which fills his own heart is superior to any amount of material comforts and pleasures.

The harvest of grain and the gathering of grapes were the two seasons of greatest joy in the East, they shouted “Harvest Home” with gladness that the fruits of the earth had again been ingathered, and they drank the new wine, and danced for joy; but David says to the Lord, “Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.” When God puts gladness in the heart, it is real gladness, for God is not the Giver of a sham joy; and it is lasting gladness, for God does not give temporary gifts. David says, “Thou hast put gladness in my heart,” and then he compares it with the gladness of men who don’t know God, and he says that his joy was greater than theirs when their earthly storehouses were filled to overflowing with the harvest. Boaz went to sleep on the threshing-floor, but he that sleeps upon the bosom of God has a far softer bed than that.

David could rejoice in the midst of the outward affliction that Absalom and his followers had caused him, and with a calm trust in Jehovah he would wait on his deliverance. 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. The ungodly can be happy when the money is coming in and everything is prosperous. David can be happy even in distressing times because the LORD put gladness in his heart.

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

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep.

By these words, David is signifying that he had such a calmness and serenity of mind amidst all his troubles that he could not only lay down with peaceful thoughts and a tranquil mind, but would soon fall asleep. Some lay down, but they cannot sleep because of the anxiety that assaults their minds; but the psalmist could do both. The word rendered "both" may be translated "together", which would make the meaning either that he would lie down with his friends and they would sleep together, committing himself and them to the care and protection of God. Or the meaning could be that he should lie down and sleep, with his enemies nearby since he was sure that there would soon be a reconciliation and peace between them—“When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

Most men lie down, and most sleep, because without rest and steep life could not be preserved; even insufficient sleep can take a terrible physical and mental toll on a person. But unfortunately, how few lie down in peace; peace with their own consciences, and peace with God! David had two great blessings, sleep, and peace in his soul. He had a happy soul; and when he lay down on his bed, his body soon enjoyed its rest, since his conscience was in peace. And he had a third blessing, a confidence that he would sleep in safety. And it was true. No fearful dreams disturbed his sleep, for he had a mind made tranquil by the peace of God. As for his body, that also enjoyed its well-deserved rest, for he had not overloaded it by overindulgence in food and drink. Dear reader, how many of your sleepless nights can be attributed to your disturbed soul—to a sense of guilt, or to a fear of death and hell?

There are some people who vainly imagine that the message of "security in Christ," leads to loose living and careless walking. This is not what it led David to do. It caused him to slip into a place of concealment, and to lay down in peace to sleep. Should we not have that same spirit of confidence and trust? The real believer, filled with Divine trust, is not afraid of the arrows that fly by day nor of the pestilence that walketh by night. He knows that he is safely sheltered in the arms of his Lord.

The antidote for insomnia is to use those hours to Pray constantly until you get the light of God‘s countenance, till his Spirit bear witness with thine that thou are a child of God. Then your rest will do you good: and even in your sleep your happy soul will be moving forward to heaven.

For thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.

The great king indicates that his protection and safety were due to the power and presence of God only; and that was the reason for the tranquility of his mind, and why he slept so peacefully at night, even though he was in danger from his enemies; or else the idea is "thou, Lord, makest me only" or "alone”, meaning though solitary and destitute of friends, you make me to dwell in safety, under the shadow of thy wings, covered by thy favor, and surrounded by thy power—“So Israel will live in safety alone; Jacob's spring is secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew” (Deuteronomy 33:28).

The security of the saved is pictured in this statement. The saved are indeed safe. They are not safe because of what they are, or do. They are safe because they are hid away in the hand of their God. The Lord said: "My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."

David spoke a great truth when he prayed: "For Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." If our safety depended upon our good works, we would never know when we had worked enough. If it depended on our good words, we would never know when we had spoken enough. The arm of flesh is a poor defense to be sure. David sought to hide himself in the shadow of the Lord's wings. He said: "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." If you had asked David where his safety lay, he would never have said that it lay in anything that was of the flesh. His trust was in the Lord.

As the Apostle Paul thought upon these things, he cried out in the Holy Ghost, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" He mentioned tribulation and distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword. With all of these things closing in upon him, he said: "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus."