In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 (ESV)
Recite using the acronym:
I P I W B L D A S; F Y A, O L, M M D I S. PSALM 4:8
Read Full Passage HERE
Our world tells us that we are the masters of our own destiny. That our lives and futures are in our own hands. That even greed itself can be a helpful tool in the pursuit of prosperity. The Bible, on the other hand, paints a very different picture. The go-to illustration is that we are in fact sheep, defenseless, and prone to disaster without the guidance and provision of our Shepherd. Security and peace, therefore, don’t come from what we can accumulate on earth to cushion and partition ourselves from the unpredictability of life. Instead, it comes from the restful assurance that our Shepherd is greater than the ups and downs that life throws at us.
Now, re-read verses 6-8 with this framework in mind:
6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
When reading Psalm 4, I couldn't help but be reminded of Psalm 23. A passage so familiar to us all. I think that this passage is so familiar because it’s used as a “feel-good” scripture in so many circles and if you grew up in church this was a very common Sunday School scripture. The words in this passage bring this picture of cloud-gazing with Jesus, in freshly cut grass, next to the echoes of a peaceful river. This isn’t a bad picture to have, but let me ask, when you have that picture in your mind, what caused you to feel peace?…. Was it the peaceful water, the freshly cut vibrant green grass, and the beautiful blue sky overhead? Or was it simply the comforting presence of the Lord? — if you’re anything like me, you probably had to take a heart check, once again realizing that your sinful heart is prone to focus more on the creation than the Creator. The best part about this picture is not the beautiful scenery but instead the presence of our Savior! Likewise, the best day in your life is not good because of what the world has to offer, but because of Who’s with you!
The first line in this poetic passage says it best, “The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing.” — When the Lord is with us, we have EVERYTHING we need!
Now, Let me put a different picture in your head…. you are walking down a deep valley with consuming darkness, clueless of where you are going, hearing echoes of insects crawling on the walls around you and the crunching of what sounds like bones under your feet. BUT in the midst of this valley, Jesus is leading and lighting the way and He’s protecting you, ready to fend off whatever danger comes your way. —What brings you a sense of peace in this picture? I’d imagine it wasn’t the consuming darkness, or the terrifying sounds, but the reassuring presence of the Lord.
“Seasons of lack can draw us into the presence of the giver, even sometimes more than our prosperity, because it makes us find rest in the presence of the Giver Himself, not in our circumstances.”
I don’t know about you, but I find this extremely powerful. Not much in life can cause me to turn to the Lord in prayer more than trials and valleys. This is because the darkest valleys make the Light of the World shine brighter than ever before! So, remember that the Lord is with you on the mountain tops and the valleys! He is the Lord who MAKES you lie down in safety. No matter how great the green pastures and how peaceful the waters—our peace can never be found in them because the dark valleys will come. Our peace must be found in the Lord! No matter our lack, Christ’s presence is enough.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (Psalm 23:4-6 ESV)