1Answer 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.
Another appropriate prayer for these times, but like Psalm 3, it needs a bit of unpacking.
David is facing distressing opposition. He doesn’t elaborate on the situation, but I’m thinking that it’s people opposing his rule as king, whether inside or outside the kingdom, criticizing him, attacking him and making life miserable. So he calls out to the Lord for mercy and “relief from my distress.”
In verses 2-5, he addresses his enemies directly, confronting their allegiance to false gods, and their failure to recognize David’s status of being set apart by the Lord. Instead of condemning his opponents, he calls them to turn away from sin, and to trust in the Lord.
In verses 6-8, David resumes his prayer, calling on the Lord to let the light of his face shine upon him and to fill him with joy, the joy as at a bountiful harvest. Confident that the Lord will hear and answer his prayer and keep him safe, he lies down in peace.
Our situation is different, but this psalm is still an appropriate one to pray. As I mentioned yesterday, our enemies are not people but the numerous manifestations of evil and fallenness in the world, both within us and outside of us. The enemies of fear, despair, guilt, hatred, jealousy, resentment, and, of course, illness. And so, in our distress, we cry out to the Lord for mercy and relief.
My prayer is that the Lord work in you and me a faith like David’s. A faith the turns to the Lord for relief in distress, rather than trying to tough it out on our own or relying on unhelpful means. A faith that seeks relief in the face of the Lord shining on us — In other words, in His gracious unrelenting love and favor in Jesus Christ. A faith that seeks joy in this relationship, regardless of what is going on. And finally, a faith that trusts in the Lord so completely, that we consider the matter settled once we have prayed, and so by His grace, can lie down in peace.
May the Lord bless us all with such faith, that we find joy and peace in Him!
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