Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Psalm 4 speaks to the troubled spirit Christians can often have when they realize, yet again, that they are radically different from much of the world in their attitudes and outlook. In verse two, the honor of the godly person is portrayed as shame. He endures lies, especially about his motives and character. These lies, moreover, accuse not only the believer but also God. Critics will ask what kind of a God would allow this or promote that. They will take advantage of every instance of a Christian not living up to the standard they have imposed on Christians, and then claim that it proves the Christian is an ungodly person and, furthermore, that God is irrelevant or a force for bad in the world.
Needless to say, this is very frustrating. Then, in verse four, the response to such an outpouring from our world is to remain quiet, to ponder God’s nature and character. To the world of accusers this very response appears to be a concession. It makes the Christian look weak and it fails to defend God’s character as well. That’s the exact opposite of what we normally would like to do. But it is what God gives us to do.
In the end, though, rather than engaging in battle with accusers, we live out a Christian life without apology, without defense. Notice in verse five that we are called to make the offering that is right and to trust in the Lord. Throughout the Old Testament, that kind of trust in God involves loving and serving your neighbor. It involves living a life which brings God’s mercy to the world. Rather than taking our conflict with the world into our own hands and fighting it out, we leave it in God’s hands and live out our trust in Him. According to verse six, we show goodness to others as the outstretched hand of God. We won’t do this if we are busy arguing with someone. We let God’s mercy do the arguing for us.
The outcome of this type of a radical lifestyle is to rest in the peace of God. That’s not a bad outcome, is it? Better yet, it allows others to find God’s peace as well. Is it frustrating? Perhaps. Is it counter intuitive? Decidedly. Is God honored through it? Absolutely.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.