HOME PAGE   |   CONTACT PAGE   |   OUR CALENDAR 

OUR SITE MAP ... DOZENS OF BIBLE STUDY PAGES

RECENT MEETINGS

 STANDING WITH THE BAGWELLS 

 
 

To e-mail, call or write the Bagwells, just visit our "Contact" Page.

 
 

 PSALM 4

VERSE BY VERSE

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

 

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

The Lord seems to be leading me to Psalm 4. It's been a while since we've studied a whole chapter like this, even though it only contains 8 verses. I'm looking forward to the journey.

In any Psalm the title is important, if it has one. Sometimes it's even critical to understanding the author's intentions.

Here's Psalm 4 in entirety. "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."

The reason the Name LORD is capitalized, all four letters, is that the King James translators chose to express the Hebrew Name Jehovah in this manner, all caps. When the Name is printed as Lord, lower case letters, the Name "Adonay" is in force.

But as I've hinted today only the title gains our attention. Which is "To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David."

This short line provides us with several pieces of vital information. I just discovered, though the number is not exact, that over a hundred Psalms have titles! That's over two-thirds of them, out of the Book's 150 chapters. And David is identified by name as the human writer in about half the Psalms, seventy-three most texts say.

Again back to the title for our Psalm, Psalm 4. "To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David."

The expression "chief musician" translates "natzsach," a noun based on a verb meaning "to be first, to be pre-eminent, to be enduring." An overseer, a superintendent, a director! He is no doubt the choir director for Israel's singers, at times of great public worship, like the nation-wide convocations and holy days God ordered in Leviticus 23.

Many of the older godly commentators see here also a veiled reference to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. He Who will no doubt lead the anthems in Glory some coming Day, when we all gather around the Throne of God and Revelation chapters 4 and 5 become personal experience!

The noun "Neginoth" means "music," or according to some, "stringed instruments." Thus we again see melody and harmony and joy infused in the Text! God is being addressed and admired and uplifted!

The Name David means "beloved" one! No doubt David's family eventually loved him, King of Israel. But even more than that, God loved Him! Christians for centuries have too. Paul had God saying of David: "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart." This is amazing and a testimony to the Grace of our Heavenly Father, Acts 13:22.

Last of all today, "Psalm" is the Hebrew term "mizmor." All 57 times the word occurs in the Old Testament it is expressed just like here, a "psalm." No variation at all. It is derived, they think, from "zamar" which means "to pluck or trim or prune something," like grape vines early in antiquity. From that concept the noun "psalm" came to mean any piece of music, the words particularly, that were to be set to music. To stringed instrumental music apparently, where fingers picked and plucked the various cords!

We now know the author.

We know too the purpose, worship and praise, probably in public.

And we've learned about the Levitical choirs as well.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll begin with verse one and learn about what they're singing! Probably it's Jesus!

                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 1:

The Psalm begins beautifully. Here's its first verse: "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

The first clause will be our focus today. Just that, which is worth a lifetime of study! "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness."

The verb "hear" immediately indicates that the Psalmist, that David, is in an attitude of prayer. "Anah" of course means "to hear" in Hebrew, but in this specific sense, "to answer, to respond, to testify!" God will not merely "listen" to David, but will "do something, react" to this man's petitions!

As usual in intercessory Old Testament settings, "anah" or the "prayer" verb involved, whatever it is, appears in the imperative mood! God is being strongly urged, insistence is really present, coerced to keep His promises and act according to the godly man's or woman's petitions!

That's bold!

The verb "call" is "qara" in Hebrew, and almost always involves crying "out loud," not speaking silently. It's a qal infinitive grammatically, expressing action that is continuous. "Qara" can also mean "to read, to proclaim, to bid," and twice "to preach" even!

So David has begun his Psalm 4 prayer, glorious as it can be. Filled with instruction for us all as well.

In studying any Bible Prayer it is necessary to notice the Name of God that's being used. Different Names and His various Titles seem to apply to particular requests and needs.

When the Apostle Paul prayed for mercy, for example, he appealed to the God of all Mercy! More specifically, to the "God of all Comfort" as in Second Corinthians 1:3.

So David names our Lord, "O God of my righteousness."

The noun "God" is "Elohiym" in Hebrew, the God of "Strength." Really "el" means "mighty" or "Mighty One."

The Psalmist needs God's power and strength and ability apparently! So He calls upon this aspect of God's perfectly fully-orbed Essence, His darling Character.

Then David uses the noun "righteousness." It's "tzedeq" in Hebrew, and means "just, correct, straight, meeting God's approval." Nothing wrong in God's Eyes!

But how can a man claim such, "righteousness?"

Isaiah said our righteousness was filthy! Like filthy cloths! "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6

So where did Isaiah get his own righteousness?

It's not self made.

I can answer that, but based on a much-later-revealed truth. "For God hath made him, Jesus, to be sin for us, Who knew no sin. That we might be made the righteousness of God in him, in Jesus." Second Corinthians 5:21, where we are plainly given the Righteousness of God via Jesus' Death on the Cross! That is, when we are born again.

And David was saved!

He already had believed on the coming Lord Jesus Christ!

He was the very one who wrote these words as guided by the Holy Spirit: "Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Psalm 32:2

Yes!

David is praying to the God Who had saved him and forgiven him and provided him Righteousness!

This is a pretty good opening Verse for any Psalm! "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer."

Thank you Lord, for an Old Testament too. One that is so full of inerrant Truth!

God's precious Word!

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, STILL VERSE 1:

The first verse of the fourth Psalm introduces a prayer, one of the many Scriptural supplications available to us today.

Here David both observes and asks: "Thou Lord hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

The desire for God's Mercy is omnipresent, at least on occasion, applying to every creature on earth.

To "have mercy" on someone means "to be kind" to him or her. "Chanan" is the verb, meaning "to show favor, to be gracious, to pity."

Obviously from the context David is in trouble, or has been. "Distress" represents the Hebrew noun "tzsar," just a "narrow, or tight" place in life. In the Bible such words as "affliction, sorrow and enemy, foe and trouble" translate the word.

When trials come, when life's circumstances are heavy and constricting, the need is for God's Kindness! God's Comfort! God's, as we have it here, delightful "Mercy!"

The verb is an imperative, further illustrating the nature of David's words, indicating seriousness and faith and urgency!

God just might enjoy persistent, demanding prayer! Listen to Him in Isaiah 45:11. "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My Hands command ye Me."

But notice also what happened to the Psalmist when he was "in distress!" God did something very special for him! God "enlarged" him, spiritually no doubt and maybe materially too. The verb here is "rachab," indicating "to be made wide, to grow large, to make more room!"

Some types of advancement in the Lord, further steps to maturity, can only come when the pathway of life is hard to travel. When clouds have gathered overhead. When storms have burst upon us!

 "Thou Lord hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

These few words by themselves have the potential of encouraging us all. When things get "tight" and "troublesome," look to God! He can help us grow and mature then, as perhaps no other time.

And when those dark days hit, let's also remember to beg God for Mercy, his everlasting Kindness on our lives.

Then we will be following and fulfilling the goal of this first verse, following David's great example.

One more time, the whole verse now: "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

Thank You, Lord.

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 2:

The verse for today, Psalm 4:2, lists three major sins. These are attributed to "the sons of men," probably more commonly known just as "sinners."

These infractions are universal.

And God, for some specific reason no doubt, charges all humankind with these wrongdoings.

Let's at least list them, then study them a little bit. They are consequential or never would have appeared in this chapter of Scripture.

"O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah."

Maybe these three areas of life completely remove God from a person's heart, blot Him from the psyche.

Sin number one, turning God's Glory into shame! And the noun "glory," in Hebrew "kabod," means "honor or splendor." It's based on a verb meaning "to be heavy," thus "to be important, weighty" on a person's priority list! Then "shame" translates "kelimmah," meaning "disgrace, confusion" or even an "insult!"

Robbing God of the worth and value due to him, to Him alone! Devaluing God Almighty! Ignoring His Importance and Character!

Sin number two, loving "vanity." And what does "riq" mean in Hebrew? Really "emptiness." Spiritual or moral "hunger!"

Living lives that center and focus on trivial matters. Making insignificant things paramount! Wrong values! Majoring on the minors!

Then sin three, "seeking" or really "strongly requesting or begging" for "leasing." This noun is "kazab" in Hebrew, "lies, falsehood, deceit," that kind of thing. Not telling the truth! Lovers of lies! Building lives around make-believe values!

Wow!

God's "lists of sins" are always astounding!

Unusual.

From a different, and Righteous, perspective!

"O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?"

Then the Psalm adds one more word to the verse.

"Selah," just that.

And in the language of the Old Testament "Selah," spelled exactly the same in Hebrew and English, means something that is being "lifted up." Something that expects to be "exalted."

Here's the point, I think, of this last word in the verse. The sins of men and women are always "growing!"

Being exalted and condoned and expanded!

Sin never stays dormant.

It always worsens!

So we need not expect improvement in the world's behavior.

"O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah." Three sins that can only proliferate.

"O Lord, help us Christians to promote Thy Glory! To reject vanity! And to seek after truth! Thus reversing these sins of the age! In Jesus' Dear Name, Amen."

                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 3:

The third verse of Psalm 4 should be memorized by every child of God. "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him." Goodness, how very encouraging!

The proper noun "LORD" here refers to God's great Name "Jehovah," the God Who always "is," Who is eternal and self perpetuating!

Then the verb "set apart," actually "hath set apart," translates "palah" in Hebrew. It means "to set a mark" on a person or thing. "To distinguish" him or her! Once "to make a person wonderful!"

This is exciting.

Our Lord loves "godly" folks, and claims them for Himself.

"For Himself" surely hints at God's special enjoyment of His people, those who adore Him greatly and wholeheartedly.

The adjective used for "godly" is spelled "chasiyd" in Hebrew and surprisingly means "kind, merciful, faithful," amazing character traits.

Here godliness is not simply a list of things I do, or things I do not practice. Rather it's an expression of who I have become in Christ! How much like the Holy Spirit my life is gradually becoming.

Paul would have called this the "Fruit of the Spirit" syndrome! "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance." Galatians 5:22-23

Godly people are kind people!

And they are "special" to their Redeemer!

Last of all verse 4 accents and reassures David of God's great ability to answer prayer. Maybe especially for His little "kind" ones! "The LORD will hear when I call unto him."

This is comforting.

Live for God.

Be kind and merciful and holy.

And pray!

God will hear and answer your requests.

That's a promise!

"But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him."

                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 4:

The Text is didactic. It teaches us something. Let's study it, Psalm 4:4. "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."

We will just take this sentence as the Lord gave it to us, inspired by his Spirit. By that I mean we will use basically a word-for-word approach.

"Stand in awe" translates a single verb, "ragaz" in Hebrew. It really means "to tremble, to quake, to quiver, to be excited!" Five times in our Old Testament it is rendered as "to be enraged." But that's obviously not its intent here.

The first word in the sentence, both in English and Hebrew, the verb wields great power and influence. It impacts the whole thought gravely. Also it is an imperative, expressing a command from the Lord.

Be "amazed" at the things of God!

Then comes another mandate, "sin not." And "chata" means "to miss God's way, to go wrong." Of course here a strong negative adverb is added. Do not disobey God!

Maybe the first condition, being thrilled and astounded at God, aids the second goal, not sinning against the Lord.

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."

The verb "commune" is next, employing the word "amar." It just means "talking, speaking, saying, answering," verbal communication.

Here it's talking to oneself apparently, "with your own heart."

At night too, "on your bed."

We would call it "meditating" probably.

Then last of all, "be still." Where "damam" means "to be silent, to be quiet, to rest, to be at peace, to forbear."

Time alone!

With God!

At night, in bed!

Thinking upon God, pleasing the Lord!

No doubt chewing on some morsel of Scripture.

And the result?

Sinning less!

 "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."

Wow!

And the "selah" most likely means "to life up or exalt" something. I think we're being taught to make this habit of pondering the Bible an ever increasing priority in our lives.

More and more so.

This is just another example of how the Bible keeps us from sin. As instructed in Psalm 119:11. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Amen.

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 5:

Today's verse, as are all the Bible's 31,102 verses, is very helpful. Psalm 4:5 tells us: "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD." That's short, but powerful.

The opening verb, "offer," is an imperative. This is a stark command! Spelled "zabach," it means "to slaughter or kill!" Of course in a religious context, of some small animal in ritual ceremony. The corresponding noun, "sacrifices" derives from the same family of words, "zebach" and means "the item that is given in worship."

This is Old Testament Mosaic sacrifice!

"Righteousness" implies that which is "correct, straight, approved" of God. That which is not crooked or perverted in His Eyes.

We New Testament Christians might now disregard such a requirement, "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness," not living under the Law anymore. But the New Testament says about the same thing! Except instead of animal sacrifices, lambs and doves and such, we are to offer God "praise!" In other words, worship and adoration and appreciation and thanks! "By him, by Jesus, therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." This is Hebrews 13:15. So let's get busy and be diligent at ... letting our lips give thanks to our great God!

But Psalm 4:5 has even more advice for us. We must not miss it. "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD."

To "put trust" in someone, "batach" in Hebrew, means "to have confidence in them, to feel secure in them." In fact so secure that once the King James Bible has us "being careless" we are so very trusting of the Lord! Not a worry in our hearts, God will take care of us!

And as we have come to expect, yes, "batach" is a command here too. God expects this of us, His children.

One short verse, loaded on both ends with helpful counsel for the growing Christian. "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD."

Thank you, Lord.

                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 6:

It seems to me the verse records a conversation, nearly so anyway. A dialogue between a worshipper and his God! Between David and Jehovah!

In the sentence however David the Psalmist quotes the people of his day, his contemporaries, those who do not know his God.

"There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." Psalm 4:6

The "many," in Hebrew "rab" and meaning a "great" number, probably represent the majority of David's kingdom. Or perhaps just the bulk of the foreign nations David has defeated, being a warrior like he was.

These multitudes are wondering, "Who will shew us any good?"

"Are things going to improve? The economy? Our lifestyles? Our position in the world? National security? Safety overall?"

No doubt they looked to the gods and goddesses of their forefathers, many did, for fortune and finance and fame.

But David the godly man thinks otherwise.  "Not from other men or women, not from the gods or idols of mankind, but real help, true strength comes from another place!"

This is like Psalm 121:1-2 really, parallel to that thought. "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."

Yes, the Lord is the Source of our help! Not the hills or valleys or neighbors or anyone or anyplace else!

David's Son Solomon learned this truth too. "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD." Proverbs 21:1

While multitudes are wondering, "Who will shew us any good?" David already knows!

The rest of today's verse, is a prayer, to the Real Fountain of all blessings! "LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us."

The verb "lift up," the engine of this prayer, translates "nasa," and means just what it says.

"Lord, do not turn away Thy Head from us! Do not let Your Eyes glance away! Keep smiling at us, protecting us, loving us, providing for us!"

Yes, that's it! "LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us."  Please do so, Oh great God of Heaven and earth!

The "countenance" is the "face" of Almighty God, "paniym" in Hebrew. "Father, Son, Holy Spirit, keep in touch, in fellowship, in communion, in direct contact and presence with us please!"

God, we need Thee!

"There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us."

That's the secret to a happy victorious Christian life!

God answers this prayer!

                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 7:

Emotions, can you trust them?

Generally the answer to that question would most often be "No." Our emotions, like the theme park's roller-coasters, have a lot of "ups" and "downs," too many at times.

But today's verse, Psalm 4:7, says something about our emotions, or at least one potential emotion for the Christian, that is the very opposite of normal expectations.

Speaking to the Lord, David says, "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

"Gladness," surely an emotion, is here placed in the human heart by the Lord Himself!

The verb "hath put" is "nathan" in Hebrew, the common word for "giving" a gift to someone! It's a once-for-all gift too, once given, perpetual and ongoing, habitual, a lifestyle thing!

God has given us "gladness!"

And "simchah" means "joy, mirth, gaiety, pleasure, happiness," what a list!

God makes us happy and delighted and content and fulfilled!

Such blessings are gifts from Him.

And the quality of these side-effects, of these episodes of "gladness?"

"More than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

Better than any "high" the wines of this world can give! Better than making a million dollars too, or a bumper crop from the fields of Israel!

God's benefits, which are many, are also of great value!

Let's read the verse again, then thank God for the truth it represents.  "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

Then let's go out today and enjoy that "gladness."

                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 8, CONCLUSION:

We have been journeying through Psalm number four. What a trip, to traverse any chapter of God's Word. Today we arrive at the last verse, verse number eight.

Here it is, word for word. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

This verse particularly helps the Psalm maintain the name "The Evening Psalm." It is a good Text to read or quote or ponder when going to sleep each night.

It is spoken by David in a spirit of confidence, holy trust in his Heavenly Father. David, the warrior, the fighter, the giant killer! David, almost always on the run, at least in early and mid-life!

Yet he can say to God: "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."

The noun "peace" is "shalom." It means an abundance of things, each good. Things like "welfare, soundness, completeness, prosperity, health," among others.

The verb "sleep" is parallel to the term "lay down." Both speak of regular, reviving rest! Nothing like it. The body requires it. And this godly man is expecting it, from the Lord!

These verbs are each set so that the deeds themselves, the reclining and the sleeping, are continuous. Not a "once only" situation!

But how, or why, can David feel so confident? That peace and rest are in his future?

Because "the Lord will make him dwell in safety!" See? "For thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."

The expression "makest to dwell" is strong. It's a "hiphil imperfect" in Hebrew. That means there is a "cause" involved. There's a "reason" behind God's amazing protection and peace and sleep extended to David! And again "yashab" is a "continuing action" verb, not a "completed action" one!

Wow!

What an encouraging way for a Psalm to end!

What a victorious way for a child of God to live.

And sleep!

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."

Amen.

                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

Thank YOU for visiting our Website!

 
 

Copyright 2011 DrMikeBagwell.org  All Rights Reserved.
 

The Fundamental Top 500