God of my righteousness!
Psalm 4 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
Evening Prayer of Trust in God. A Psalm of David.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
2 O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah.
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
4 Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
6 Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
The psalmist says: Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! David knew and understood that it was not his righteousness, but righteousness which comes from God. In Psalm 51:2-3 he says: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. In Isaiah 64:6 the prophet says: All of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. What we need to understand is that our own righteousness, no matter how good we are, does not, cannot make us worthy of God’s love, His compassion, His mercy, His grace and all of His goodness toward us and blessings for us. We are not worthy in our righteousness, yet God in His righteousness, sees us beyond worth, through His love, compassion, mercy and grace. So that there would be no question, Christ died for our sins, that we could receive His righteousness in place of our own. Romans 13:13-14 says: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, (His righteousness) and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Several times in Leviticus, the Law, God says: Be holy because I am holy. Yet through the law people could not attain righteousness, so Jesus Christ became our righteousness. Indeed then, like the psalmist we can say: Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. We are basing our request on His character, not our own.
The psalmist says: Know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him. Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord. It is not by our own righteousness or our own sacrifices that we are worthy of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Our good and righteous works are not the reason for our salvation; they are our response to His gift of salvation to us. We are set apart, created in Christ Jesus for good works, not by good works. The psalmist says we are to offer sacrifices of trust in the Lord. What is it about trust that makes it a sacrifice? It is that trust also requires obedience. Trust requires that we rely and depend wholly on God’s will and His way, not our own. We cannot say that we trust in God, if we are not also obedient to Him. In Psalm 23:4 the psalmist says: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. The rod and the staff of the shepherd are instruments of guidance and protection, but they are also instruments of discipline and correction. If we trust God, we will find comfort, like the psalmist, in His discipline and correction. We will trust and obey.
The psalmist says: You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. All that we have, we have in God and Christ. He is our joy and our gladness. It is not the things He gives us, but rather it is the Lord Himself. Jesus says: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27) Of all the names of God that we see in scripture, the one that we need to know and remember, the one we need to trust and depend on, is the one He referred to Himself when He sent Moses to the people in Egypt. Exodus 3:14 says: God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God is I Am. Jesus says: I Am… Whatever we need, He is.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; I Am. I will trust and obey. I will be glad in both Your protection and Your correction. I will put on Your righteousness, walk in the good works You have prepared for me and prepared me for, because You are my Lord and my God. Amen.