Summer ought to be a season when we’re able to rest well—a time we can spend with the Lord and His goodness. But, oftentimes, we actually fall out of healthy spiritual habits and end up trying to rest from the Lord instead of resting in Him.
That’s why we’ve created the Summer Selah Series. Over 40 days, we’ll be sharing daily devotions during a season where you may not feel very devoted.
Based on excerpts from his book Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion, Ross Lester, our Pastor of Preaching and West Congregation Pastor, will provide readings from select Psalms, a brief devotional reflection, and some prayer points for each of the 40 days.
Take some time to read Psalm 4. Then, come back and read the following verse again.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8 ESV)
Psalm 3 and Psalm 4 are said to be a pair that are intended to go together. They function as bookends for a day. Psalm 3 is a Psalm for the morning (which might explain why it is so angry) and Psalm 4 is a song for the evening. It is a sort of lullaby—a soothing song to hum along to before you fall asleep.
Do you ever struggle to sleep? The key to a good night’s sleep according to David is to know that God’s thoughts about your right standing before Him are way more important than what you or others believe about it. In verse 1 of the Psalm, David uses a name for God that isn’t used anywhere else in Scripture. He calls Him, “God of my righteousness.” Now, because it is such a unique term, there are a lot of arguments about how best to express it. Charles Spurgeon was fascinated by the term and he explained it this way:
“It means, Thou art the author, the witness, the maintainer, the judge, and the rewarder of my righteousness; to thee I appeal from the calumnies and harsh judgments of men. Herein is wisdom, let us imitate it and always take our suit, not to the petty courts of human opinion, but into the superior court, the King’s Bench of heaven.” (The Treasury of David, Vol 1, Pg. 34)
As David was being pursued by forces led by his son, Absalom, he was having a lot of accusations thrown at him. They must have kept him up at night. “You are a sham David. You were a lousy king. Remember what you did with Bathsheba? Even your own son hates you.” I reckon that a lot of us have voices of accusation that keep us up at night too. I don’t know what they sound like to you, but I certainly experience them at times in my life.
The Scripture says though that I am in Christ and have a new identity that comes from Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), and, as a result, I am free from accusation (Colossians 1:22) and condemnation (Romans 8:1). God Himself gets to make the call on my righteousness and because the work of winning that righteousness was already completed by Jesus, it can’t be taken away from me or undone through my own failings.
Now that’s a good reason to sleep easy.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times that I base my value and worth more on what others think about me and less on the righteousness that Your Son accomplished for me. Teach me what it means to walk in that righteousness and free me to sleep easy, knowing that You are the God of my righteousness.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)