Please Read Psalm 4.
In verses 2-5, David shifts his focus from God to those men who have been tormenting him. He asks how long they will continue to tarnish his honor; to seek after lies and vain words instead of the truth. After repeating the refrain, “how long,” David inserts the musical term, “Selah.”
The word “selah” in the Psalms is probably a musical term. Scholars don’t know exactly what it means. It could be a specific direction to the instrumentalists, but more likely it is simply a musical pause. It has been suggested that, as modern readers of the Psalms, each time that we read the word “selah,” we too should pause, reflect on what we just read, and meditate on how it can apply to our lives.
Let’s do that now: in this section of the Psalm, there is a “Selah” after verse 2, and verse 4. Verse two is questioning how long David’s enemies will continue to say evil things about him. It hurts him to hear their verbal assaults, and he asks how long they will insist on attacking him. Verse 4 is encouraging them to ponder their own sin “in your own hearts on your beds.” If his enemies took his advice and reflected on their own sin before they laid down to sleep, then they would wake up unwilling to call anyone else out on their sin, particularly David. The more that we reflect on our own sin, the less willing we are to judge others of their sin.
Following each of these “Selah’s” are specific instructions to seek the Lord. In verse 3, David reminds his enemies that the Lord has set David apart and hears when David calls on him. He no longer needs to worry about their verbal assaults; he needs to turn his heart back to the Lord and be reminded that the Lord is his Shepherd; his source of strength is not in his own fighting ability, but in the Lord—God has set him apart for Himself. This is the height of security: to know that God has chosen you and will deliver you when you call on him.
In verse 5, David instructs his enemies on how they can have this security: “offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” Sacrifice and trust; repentance and faith. The same two acts that one must practice to believe the Gospel today: trust in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and demonstrate that trust through faithful obedience to His commands.
David is feeling tormented by his enemies assaults, but he reminds himself that God has chosen him, and, so he is assured that God will be with him. He then urges his enemies to reflect on their own sin and turn to God for salvation through sacrifice and trust.
What a model for us today! Jesus urges us to pray for our enemies, and now we know how: thank God for delivering us from our enemies, pray that our enemies would be convicted of their sin, and pray that they would turn to Christ and be saved.
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