Are you in a tight place?

God, in the past you gave me relief when I was in a tight place (v. 1).

Psalm 4 was written by King David after his son Absalom rebelled and took David’s throne.

Extreme distress!

What was David’s solution?

When I am in difficulty [a tight place] you enlarge my perspective so that I understand your purposes (v. 1).

Absalom rebelled by standing on the road by the main gate to Jerusalem. He acted (unofficially) as a court official giving judgments and recommendations to those entering and needing relief from legal problems.

“King David is too busy for you,” Absalom would say, “I will help you!” Making favorable decisions for those of influence, Absalom gained the hearts of the city – especially with those holding a grudge against David.

Through Absalom’s deceit, the hearts of the people turned toward bitterness, anger, and mutiny against King David.

David’s response?

Listen to me, you elite people of Israel: how long will you defame my honor and drag it into shame? Will you ever stop insulting me? How long will there be shadows of lies against me in your hearts?

Sensing that the hearts of the people had been seduced, Absalom proclaimed himself king and marched on Jerusalem to dethrone David.

When the people turned against King David, he did two things:

First, David called out to God.

Answer me when I call, oh God, who knows the truth of my righteousness (v. 1).

In the past you have delivered me in tight places, now be gracious and hear my prayers (v. 1).

God always hears and answers my prayers (v. 3).

Second, David forgave those who had rebelled and commanded those still loyal to him to do the same.

When you go to bed, do not sin with angry words and vengeful thoughts. Instead of tossing and turning in bed, judge your thoughts to discern your sins that need to be confessed and then be still by trusting God (vv. 4-5).

David then asks the question we all ask during difficulties, sickness, or betrayal by friends:

I’m asking, many are asking, how can any good come out of this? In this time, let the light of your presence be with us (vv. 6-7).

In David’s “tight place” of persecution and accusation, he turned to God. King David describes God’s response:

You have put gladness in my heart during this time, more than when I have prospered at other times with money, fame, and power. You have all things in control, and you are working for my growth in righteousness (v. 7).

During this trial, I have total peace. I will now lie down and sleep, for you alone make me dwell in safety (v. 8).

During King David’s “tight place,” he prayed, didn’t get bitter, confessed his sin, and trusted in God.

Then David slept through the night.

When I write Psalms On Saturday, I have several parallel translations and commentaries on my screen. I often give my own interpretation of verses using varied translations, my own knowledge of Hebrew (which I admit is deficient), and the explanation of commentaries.