I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Psalm 4:4-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 When you are disturbed,[a] do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
7 You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Verse 6 of today’s reading shows that the writing of Psalm 4 was during a time of trouble when many people were distressed. Yet, the psalm speaks of peace and security in God. This has certainly been a theme for us for more than a year. We may not have used the same words, but we have said over and over, in one way or another, “O that we might see some good!”
The word translated “disturbed” in the NRSV can be translated “angry” or “afraid.” It is also sometimes translated “trembling,” so “shaking with fear” or “shaking with anger” would also capture the thought and mood of this passage.
Have you had moments during this past year when you were “shaking with fear” or “shaking with anger”? The warning in verse four is that we can so easily sin when we are experiencing those powerful emotions. Acting purely out of fear or anger can cause great harm. Speaking—or, Lord help us, tweeting—without thinking first can be terribly destructive. So, the advice of the psalm is sleep on it: “ponder is on your beds, and be silent.”
That image of sleep appears again in verse 8: ” I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.” It is the presence of God that brings peace, assurance, and the reminder of who we are, who God is, and how we are to respond to our circumstances.
Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 comes to mind:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster