Read | Psalm 4
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.
Respond | Tom Dearduff
The boldness of this psalm is immediately evident, as its writer opens with a demand of God: “Answer me when I call to you.” It might make us a little uneasy to speak to God in such a way! But do not mistake courageous worship for arrogance or disobedience. The psalmist layers this demand with praises, such as, “my righteous God”; “the Lord hears when I call”; and, “you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
We need to be this bold when we pray. We may demand God to answer us; but we must be ready to listen when God does respond. Sure, God may make God’s presence known like Aslan does as he roars, sings, and moves about Narnia. But more than likely, God as a burning bush or a great flood serve as the exceptions; I would guess that God has already answered many of our prayers, but we were just too distracted—too loud—to hear the whispered voice of the Holy One.
As Deuteronomy 31v6 (a classic) says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified… for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Let us have strength and courage. But, do so with 1 Kings 19v11-12 always on your heart: “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
Maybe, just maybe, we might be quiet enough to hear God’s answer.
Holy Spirit, fill us with strength and courage and stillness and silence. Give us the boldness to praise your name and the attentiveness to hear your response; and ease our troubled hearts and turbulent minds as we longingly wait to hear your whisper. Amen.