The Psalmist begins Psalm 4 with the cry. Answer me when I call to you; O my righteous God. He continues, Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
My first reaction in reading this passage pictures a child who is standing up to his / her parent, demanding that they answer them. There is a sense of an urgent demand. It’s not one of quiet humility and trust. Instead, its appears to be a scene where God is being told what to do. It’s more like an order, then it is a humble request.
I am taken back to a scene towards the end of the book of Job. It’s one where after all his complaining Job is called to account, and God asks him – “Who are you Job, to call me to account?” Job eventually replies, “Now I have seen you, I repent in dust and ashes”
But, am I right to equate God’s dealing with Job, to the apparent arrogance of this Psalmist. And I have to say NO!” For the Psalmist knows his ‘right’ relationship with God. In verse 2 he talks about the foolishness of those who seek false gods. He knows those false gods neither see, hear, speak, or act. He knows those who follow those false gods are deluded in their thinking. He states a fact in verse 3 that his God will hear when he calls to him. Because the Lord has set apart for himself those who follow him.
Therefore, his heart before God is a right one. It’s a heart of humility. It’s a heart of trust. It’s a heart of knowing that God himself promised to hear his prayers. It’s a heart of worship. For he knows that only God can deliver him from his distress. And he knows that he can indeed sleep in peace, because God will protect him. And so because he knows God is a God who promises to hear his prayers; in the midst of heartache and pain – his cry, “God answer me, is one of urgent need.”
In the midst of our own heart ache and pain, do we dare cry out in humble trust – God, answer me. Give me relief from my distress. Be merciful and hear my prayer. Not because we are ordering God to do so – but, instead, its because we know that God is honored in our dependence upon him.