Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Adult Bible Study on Psalm 4

Psalm 4

(New International Version)

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?]
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.


Tremble and 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.



1. What is David’s tone as he speaks to God in this psalm? What is the proper way to approach God – boldly or in humility?


Ephesians 3:12 - In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.


Whereas we do want to show respect to God when we come to Him, we can also rejoice in the fact that He’s invited us to come into His Presence. Through His Son, He’s given us standing.


Matthew 21:22 – “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


John 14:13-14 – “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”


When we pray to God, we can expect Him to answer because He’s promised to answer us. Praying in confidence shows faith that God will be faithful and act on our behalf. When we pray and don’t really expect God to do something, it shows that we either don’t know what to pray for or lack faith that God will be true to His word.



2. David asks for God to give him relief from his distress. Is there any distress God can’t relieve us from?


There is no distress God can’t give us relief from. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – He is the healer of all.


But God doesn’t always heal completely in this life. Just because we pray in faith doesn’t mean we’re praying in His will. Still, we can believe that He will give us relief.


2 Corinthians 12:7-9 - I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”


Paul did not experience complete healing from whatever was distressing him, but he did receive relief. God gave him the grace to carry his burden.



3. In this psalm, David is speaking about people in his kingdom who are talking against him and wishing someone else to bring them prosperity. Perhaps circumstances in the country were poor at that moment.


Yet David reminds them that God has set him apart as His faithful servant. He is confident that God hears him when he prays. If we adopted David’s confidence in knowing that God has set each one of us apart as His chosen servant, how would that confidence change how we speak and act?


We would be much bolder in how we share the truth, and how often we share the truth with others. So many times, we’re afraid to witness to people. It should be the other way around. People should tremble when we speak in the authority the king has given us.  



4. Verse 4 reads, “Tremble and do not sin.” Other translations read, “Do not sin in your anger,” or something similar. The sense is that people shouldn’t let their emotions lead them into sin. If circumstances in the country were poor, that was no excuse for them losing control and acting against God and the king.


How can we ensure we don’t lose control of our emotions and sin?


It seems the first step is to take our concerns to God rather than getting worked up. When we complain or vent or anger to others, it often riles us and them up more than if we had kept it between ourselves and the Lord. And when we do pray to Him about our concerns, He can often give us a different perspective or the faith to deal with the issue more maturely.



5. David gives us the solution to our concerns in verse 5: “Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.” For his time, he was telling people not to ask the false gods for help by sacrificing to them but to make the sacrifices God required and to trust Him to help them. What sacrifices can we offer God today?


I think of the sacrifices of time, money, and praise. We don’t always feel like spending time with God or spending time helping other people to honor God; we don’t always feel like giving God control of our finances; we don’t always feel like worshipping Him – but we are to do it because He asked for and deserves it. And when we obey God by making these sacrifices, we can trust that He will act for our good.



6. The people David is referring to are looking for someone to bring them prosperity in their time of trouble rather than trusting in God. In what ways do you look for others to bring you good when you should be looking to God?


I think of a wife relying too much on her husband, or a husband relying too much on his wife. Citizens relying too much on a politician. People in need relying too much on government programs for assistance. Friends relying too much on each other to fulfill emotional needs.


Whereas all of these pieces can be good and sent from God, they don’t replace our need for God. We should always rely on Him more than we lean on human relationships or institutions.



What to DO after reading this passage

Take a moment of silence before the Lord, then ask Him to search your heart with you. Is there anything you need to confess and repent of?


Do you have any doubts you need to bring to Him? Is anything making your anxious?


Has the Lord been prompting you to take some action?




Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!



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