Light in Darkness (Psalm 4)

Today’s post is from A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms by Timothy and Julie Tennent. He serves as the president of Asbury Theological Seminary among other posts he holds across the global church. She is a gifted musician and was one of the driving forces that helped bring to fruition the Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. We will share some of their writing on the Psalms over the next few Sundays. NOTE: there will not be an audio version for these entries.

Psalm 4 (NIV)

 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.



Psalm 4 and Psalm 5 should be experienced as a set. They provide the basic framework of evening and morning prayer, which is so central to framing the Jewish (and later, Christian) day. Psalm 4 is an evening prayer. We might expect that morning prayer would come first, but the Jewish day starts at sundown, not at sunrise. The new day begins by calling upon the Lord as we prepare to lie upon our beds. The psalmist reflects on the root of all sin. Sin is not merely specific acts of rebellion against God. Sin, at its root, is robbing God of the honor he is due.

As Christians, we remember that God sent his Son into the world to restore the honor that rightly belongs to him. God has been robbed of his honor. It is in Psalm 4 that God addresses the unbelieving world, “How long . . . will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?” (v. 2). The primordial lie, which goes back to the fall, is doubting God’s Word and seeking to rob him of his honor by putting ourselves in the place of God. This causes undue misery. Sometimes we look around our culture and the world and, almost in despair, we ask, “Who can show us any good?” (v. 6). Yet the psalmist recognizes that when we remember our proper place and give God the honor due his name, then not only can we sleep in peace, but we have a deep joy and gladness in our hearts that is even greater than when “grain and new wine abound” (v. 7). In short, living a life properly before God is the greatest source of joy and security, which far surpasses any of our outward circumstances.

As Christians, we know that when the psalmist prays, “Let the light of your face shine upon us” (v. 6), this was not a new prayer, but one that stretched back through Israel’s history to the great prayer of Aaron (Num. 6:24–26). This great prayer was ultimately answered in Jesus Christ, about whom Paul writes, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

For the Awakening,
Timothy and Julie Tennent


Sing Psalm 4 with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the free resource here or purchase the book A Metrical Psalter: The Book of Psalms Set to Meter for Singing here.

P. S. 

Several years ago we published a book called A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms by Timothy and Julie Tennent. Find today’s entry and writing on the rest of the Psalms in this beautiful resource. Order a copy of A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms from our store here.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. In the early hours of this morning as I lay on my bed, I searched my heart and was silent. Then words began to come to me about the Light of God and once again they aligned with the next morning’s Wake-Up Call. I love to let God shine the Light of His face in my heart.

    “Until Christ-followers begin to daily delight in God’s Light we’ll stay stuck in routine religion. Overcomers overcome through ongoing revelation of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Behold Jesus and overcome!”

    “The Light to look unto Jesus doesn’t come from religious lectures or ceremonies. It’s a gift of supernatural insight from God. Jesus is building His body on the solid rock of direct divine revelation not on the shifting sand of religiosity.”

    “Jesus isn’t about building religious-lecture buildings. He’s about building people’s hearts together as the family of God. Jesus builds people’s hearts together when they open their eyes to see Him spiritually. When you see the risen Christ who I see, we become spiritual family.”

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