Provocative Devotion: Psalm 4

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,[a] 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,[b] 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.

Crying out to God in prayer is an exercise filled with many conflicting emotions. There is the uncertainty of whether or not God has so inclined Himself to answer our petition. Yet at the same time there is the faith, the deep down sense of assurance and confidence that God has promised to incline His ear and heart towards us. Finally there is that peace that allows one to lie down and sleep in the knowledge that no matter what the answer, the Lord assures us that He is with us. He is our place of safety and refuge.
More powerful to me in this Psalm is the notion that the Lord puts joy in my heart. He does it simply by making me aware of the light of His face, His glory shining upon me. I think of the promise of Jesus that when I have in fact run the race well and with perseverance, He promises to meet me in glory and welcome me into His kingdom with an embrace, a smile, and the words, “well done good and faithful servant”. What more could I ask for, long for, strive for, than the light of the Lord to shine on me.
Last year I ran The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. Upon finishing the 26.2 mile race you cross the finish line and are greeted by a Marine in uniform who hangs a medal around your neck and congratulates you for a job well done. It brought tears to my eyes to have someone who risks their life for my freedom, give me a medal and tell me well down. It was such a powerful and moving event that I plan to run it again this year. But such wonder and emotion pales in comparison to one day having Jesus, the one who died for my freedom from sin, embrace me, greet me, have His light shine upon me, and welcome me. That will be a day to behold and live for.

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