Prayer is foundational in the life of a believer.
This is another psalm that has an inscription. These inscriptions are important – they are part of Scripture and reveal truth to us (in the Hebrew Bibles these inscriptions are written down as verse 1)
· This psalm is addressed to the chief musician – ie to the one that’s going to be leading the people into worshipping G-d. This tells us that this was a psalm that people would recite in unison, together. G-d wanted the truths in this psalm to be shared in a public way to individuals.
· Stringed instruments (plural) – it could include a variety of different instruments.
v1: Call – this is crying out, prayerfully, to G-d. We want G-d to hear (and respond to) our petitions, supplications, requests.
· G-d of my righteousness: G-d is a righteous G-d. We want to be like Him – righteous people. David wants G-d in his life for righteous purposes – G-dly purposes. Living righteously is not possible if we are not in relationship with The Righteous G-d.
· Distress: Pressure, stress, anxiety, a feeling that things are just caving in on you (A narrow place).
· Relieved me: G-d makes the narrow space a broad space – He takes away that unbearable pressure and gives us room to breathe (Ps 18:19).
· Mercy (grace) leads to salvation. It also equips us to function properly (Titus 2:11-14).
· Are we praying for G-d to fill us with righteousness so that we can live in a spacious place – conquering anxiety, stress etc? Are we praying for His grace to fill our lives so that we are transformed – a grace that steers us away from ungodly behaviour and helps us to live in a way that is pleasing to Him? If we pray for these two things we are going to live effective lives.
v2: Turn my glory to shame: People mocked David for what he believed and for how he behaved (eg even his own wife – 2 Sam 6:16). Humanity mocks the things of G-d. There is a time coming when this is going to end. Humanity gravitates towards things that are worthless (futile) and many don’t want to know the truth of G-d – they prefer to believe a lie (falsehood). This will not always be the case.
v3: But know – this is a command. We need to know that the L-rd makes a distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. G-d will behave in a different way toward a righteous person then He would toward an unrighteous person. (Because we, as a righteous people, are recognised by the L-rd He responds to us – our prayers are effective. James 5:16)
v4: Righteous anger is not a sin. However, don’t allow the enemy to pervert that anger into something that’s displeasing to G-d (Eph 4:26-27) We might have a justification for being angry but don’t allow that anger to produce sin.
· ‘Heart’ has to do with a mindset – our thoughts. Any anger we have needs to be taken to G-d in prayer – quietly, speculatively. Even when we lie on our beds (in our place of weariness and vulnerability) we need to train our minds (condition them) to begin to think correctly so that we can behave correctly.
· ‘Be still’ – Be at peace.
v5: What else can impact our prayer life? Making righteous sacrifices…giving is an expression of
sacrificial worship. We also need to trust (put our confidence in, invest in, make an effort with our relationship) in the L-rd.
v6: The definition for good…. the will of G-d. Many say…who will show us the will of G-d?
· When we are in prayer the L-rd Himself will show us His will!
· The light (illumination) of your countenance (face): This is part of the Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-27). This is a prayer that has to do with receiving the blessing of the L-rd. When G-d is a light around us He enables us to see things properly, so that we don’t have to live in darkness – not knowing His will or way. Prayer helps us to begin to see things from G-d’s perspective. When we see from His perspective we naturally begin to do His will.
v7: When we live desiring righteousness, receiving the grace of G-d, knowing truth and not being swayed by those who mock us etc…we are going to begin to live lives that are full of joy. This joy is better, and fills us more, than any worldly prosperity can.
v8: Peace is an outcome of being in G-d’s will.
David had problems in his life, but those problems didn’t consume him. David realized that when he focused upon the righteous will of G-d (taking hold of the grace of G-d, letting G-d illuminate his life and living in the blessings of G-d) it gave him peace – together with a good night’s sleep.
· For You alone – There’s nothing else that we need but the L-rd. Romans 8:32
A very simple but wise prayer we can pray is for G-d to position us so that we are in the place where He wants us to be – dwelling safely. When we trust G-d we’re going to be placed in His will!