But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; the Lord hears when I call to Him. (Psalm 4:3)
We can identify with the desperation and plea of the psalmist in the opening verses. Sometimes we feel rejected or maybe are conscious of having made a mistake. Having offended someone, we feel the reproach of a strained relationship. We are out of sorts with God—that sweet fellowship and sense of His presence has vanished—and we plead with Him to answer our prayer, be gracious to us, and relieve our distress.
The contrast is made clear in characterizing one who succumbs to worldly and ungodly attitudes and behavior and what one does who is walking a godly life in the righteousness of the Father. One who is out of fellowship with the Father is attracted to worthless things—values of the world, materialism and entertainment that appeals to baser instincts and passions. Such a person is deceived and misleads others in his example and influence.
We recognize our need for God’s help. It is not because we are deserving but because of His righteousness that we can expect Him to answer when we call; it is on the basis of His grace that He hears our prayer.
Verse 3 is a beautiful reminder that if we live a godly life, it is because God has chosen us and set us apart; it is not for our blessing but for His glory. Why does the godly person have assurance the Lord hears when he calls? It is because we belong to Him and walk in fellowship with Him. Life becomes communion with God in which the Father responds to our pleading and manifests Himself to us in an outpouring of grace.
The person set apart for the Lord is to do four things to maintain that relationship:
- Tremble and do not sin; the fear of the Lord should be a deterrent from sin.
- Meditate and think about the Lord and godly things in times when we are still, while lying in bed or perhaps waiting in a line or stalled in traffic.
- Offer the sacrifices of righteousness; do what is good—”What would Jesus do?”
- Trust in the Lord. Walk in faith, confident that God is leading and enabling us.
The result of being a godly person who walks with God in doing these things is that God is consistently revealing Himself to us and through us. He is “lift[ing] up the light of [His] countenance upon us” (v. 6). He puts gladness in our heart, a joy that abounds like the farmer who reaps a prosperous crop beyond all expectations. And we can sleep in peace and dwell in safety. There is no distress, problem, or threat that infringes on our security.
Prayer: Lord, there is no goodness at all in me; any element of holiness and godliness comes from You. You have demonstrated grace and mercy in setting me apart from worldly things, but never let me forget it is for Your glory. I encounter so many conflicts and temptations in my mind, but You give a blessed peace and joy in abundance because I rest in You and You alone.