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Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
This Psalm was written at the same time as Psalm 3 as a lament of David during his time of grief over Absolom. It was suggested in my study Bible that this is a sister Psalm to Psalm 3 with Psalm 3 being the morning reading and this one being the evening reading. Both are laments.
God’s steadfast love has been at work in the history of Israel and in our lives too.
The word used here for “godly” is the same root word used for steadfast love. It is the word “hasid.” Other words used that come from this word are “saint,” “faithful one,” and “holy one.” It is a reminder that God’s steadfast love has held us over the years and continues to hold us. Taking time to ponder quietly also helps us as we pause and think.
On our own, we aren’t saints, godly, holy, or even consistently faithful. It is only in Christ that we are able to stand before God with those descriptions, thanks to His steadfast, covenant love for us that lead Him to the cross. It also caused Him to be steadfast with the nation of Israel as He brought them through the wilderness, endured with them over the years they had kings and often rebelled against Him, and often did not follow in His ways over the many years leading up to Jesus’ arrival. As you read through the Old Testament, it is an incredible story of His patience, love, justice, punishment, and care for His people over all those years as He protected a special people to bring Messiah to the world.
We can trust in God to take care of evil and injustice
As we trust the Lord (vs. 5) we can be angry at evil and injustice and not sin. We can be silent in such a situation and be quiet as we trust Him for the outcome of unjust circumstances. But there is no virtue in silence if we are going to be resentful and stew over the ways we have been wronged. If that is what we plan to do, we need to ask for prayer for help from others. We need to pray for God to help us forgive appropriately.
By that, I mean to forgive over time, but not allow resentment to get a foothold in our heart; to not expect overnight forgiveness and no feelings of anger, grief or sadness ever again; to understand that expecting civil justice to take place is part of forgiving.
In fact, if I don’t forgive, civil justice will be more of an act of revenge rather than one of justice. (Tim Keller)