2–8 July 2017.
Most of us like to think that we don’t care what other people say about us. But that’s rarely true. When people speak badly about us, when they lie or gossip about us, we do care and it really hurts. Often evil words hurt us much more than physical pain. That’s because lies and gossip cut us deep down in our heart. And we also start to worry: “What if people believe those lies? What if they think that gossip is true? It will destroy our reputation, and even destroy our lives!” No wonder the Bible speaks so often about the dangers of an evil tongue.
The writer of Psalm 4 knows this pain. In verse 2, he describes how people are believing lies and gossip about him. People are trying their hardest to shame him, to destroy his honour, his reputation, and even his life.
We have all suffered verbal attacks from others before, so we know how much it hurts. But what can we do about it? Often our first reaction is to hit back, to use our own words to hurt others even more than they have hurt us. But often that approach just makes things worse.
So in Psalm 4 the writer suggests a different path. In vv. 4–5 he tells us: Instead of letting our anger drive us to sin, we should put our trust in the Lord. To strike back in anger means we become just like our enemy. Instead, we should trust in God to set things right. Also, while what other people think of us can be important, most important is what God thinks of us. And the good news is that God doesn’t believe gossip or lies. We are our heavenly Father’s children, and he knows the truth about us. In v. 1 the writer knows that God has helped him in the past, and so now he has the courage to come to God again in prayer and to place his problems in God’s hands.
That’s an amazing example. The writer just lets go and leaves his life in God’s hands, completely trusting in God and knowing that God will create justice and make things right. When we can trust God that way the result is an incredible peace and gladness, because we know that evil people and their evil words will never win. We know that in the end our heavenly Father will set things right. No wonder then that despite the attacks by others the writer can say to God in v. 7: “You have put gladness in my heart.” I hope each one of us can receive that same blessing: to have God’s peace and gladness in our hearts.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis