Psalm 4: God Puts Life Back Together

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.

(New International Version)

This is the fourth Psalm in a series that I’m using to get myself back to the Bible.  I’m making no promises of getting through any more of them, except this one right here today. In my desire to get back to the Bible, I am taking just one small step at a time.

Well this is an easier read for me. It took four Psalms to get to one that didn’t condemn the wicked, or call for striking down and rods of iron, but here we are. This is more what I was expecting and hoping for when I chose the Psalms as my reentry into the Bible. This one … this one speaks much more to me than enemies and violence and wrath. Don’t get me wrong, as I wrestled with the first three (here, here, and here), I did find a way to connect with each one of them, but this one offers something more familiar to my heart: longing for God and appreciation for what he gives.

I think so often, so many of us are feeling this kind of longing, for relief and joy and peace. For the past few weeks, I’ve felt like life is much more like a whirlwind than a peaceful sleep. In fact, my sleep has not been peaceful or restful. I wake up feeling tired, not refreshed; worn out, not restored. And I tell myself, but soon I’ll have more time to rest and take it easy. But that won’t be true though unless I’m intentional about that. Intentional about choosing more carefully how (and when) I lie down and sleep. Intentional about keeping out those who turn my glory into shame.  Intentional about subtracting to-dos from my list whether they are done or not.

I haven’t been great at calling out to God for rest lately. I haven’t been great at calling out to him for anything really. If I’m being honest, I’ve been too busy for God. So many of my hours are filled up with work and projects and school and bills and relationships. So many of my thoughts are filled up with worries and uncertainty and excitement and frustration and striving.

The hardest part of what I’m experiencing is that everything I have going on right now is actually good. I’m excited about all the different parts. There’s just so many of them. My mind is flitting from one thing to another so quickly, the rest of me can’t keep up. The rest of me … the part of me beyond my mind and my body that needs peace and rest, it’s being left behind because it can’t (or won’t) keep up. 

And that makes life feel a little disjointed, disconnected. My mind and my body and my soul are living life with a divide-and-conquer strategy, except I can’t really divide myself like that and still be whole. I can’t divide the parts of myself or the parts of my life into separate parts, pulling me in so many directions. It leaves me in pieces. In The Message, the last line of Psalm 4 reads, “For you, GOD, have put my life back together.”  

How long will we turn glory into shame? How long will we love delusions? How long will we seek false gods? Until our need is filled up with something greater, something that brings peace and rest. Something like a God who can put it all back together.

 
P.S. I’m not 100% with this post, I know it. It feels like even here in this post, my thoughts are disconnected and disjointed and this didn’t end up where I thought it would. Things often don’t end up where I think they will. But I figured better to post than not to post. If this post isn’t as polished as I would like, it’s really just proving my point that lately I haven’t been able to focus enough to polish anything to a good shine. Thanks for reading anyway!


6 thoughts on “Psalm 4: God Puts Life Back Together

  1. I have felt so divided lately. I keep telling Frank that something has to give, to change. I’m finding that in simplicity, I find abundance. In letting go, I can hold on. Nothing in this life can give us the security that God does. He alone makes us dwell in safety. What is safe dwelling anyways? The peace of knowing we are never left or forsaken? Perhaps. Like I said, I’ve been divided and have had clouded thinking too.

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  2. I really appreciated your intro “This is the fourth Psalm in a series that I’m using to get myself back to the Bible. I’m making no promises of getting through any more of them, except this one right here today. In my desire to get back to the Bible, I am taking just one small step at a time.” I often feel shame at not doing a better job at reading the Bible or praying or spending time focused on Godly things. I let this shame keep me from even trying. How good it would be for me to say “this one, right here, today”. Isn’t that what God wants? Thanks for giving me the words.

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  3. Putting life back together. I like that. I remember hearing a definition of peace that invokes more a sense of “wholeness”. If I recall correctly, this is more closely the way shalom is meant to be interpreted. A wholeness with oneself, or being undivided. What a beautiful sentiment to express as a greeting or farewell. I wish not just that you be at rest but that you be made whole. We pigeonhole peace into an antonym of war or conflict but it’s about so much more than that. I want to work more at being whole and undivided.

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