Psalm 4: I Rest in You

Continuing on my Adopt-a-Psalm journey, we come to Psalm 4. At its core, Psalm 4 is the lament of someone whose honor has been impugned. You can hear the theme of shame and honor recurring throughout. Ultimately, though, the Psalmist chooses to rest in the Lord. It reminds me of what Richard Foster says in The Celebration of Discipline—I believe in the section on silence—about not speaking in defense of yourself, but simply allowing your reputation to stand on its own. This lack of control is frightening, especially when your name is at stake, but ultimately we can’t control what others think of us. 

My approach with some of these more difficult Psalms is to address the Psalm’s themes as fully as possible without necessarily adopting all the original text’s images. For example, Psalm 3’s “Break their teeth, O Lord” is a tough sell for a congregational song! I also use the music to soften the blow a bit. In this case, the lyrics and music turn the Psalm from an indignant defense into a quiet prayer in the night. The song’s chorus focuses on rest, as this is what binds Psalm 3 and 4, and I couldn’t resist tipping my hat to Philippians 4:7 on the chorus repeat.

The recording features everyone’s favorite boy band, The Scheers, with Simon on bass, Theo on cello, and me on guitar and vocals (and a light backing track of ukulele). Take a closer look (PDF) or listen (MP3).

1. God, you hear my prayer in the dark.
Only you can judge human hearts.
Lord, set me free from these chains;
Let me see just how gracious you are.

How long must I be bent in shame—
Shackled by dishonor’s dead weight?
Lord, when I call, you will hear,
For you know all I have is my faith.

When I lie down to sleep I shall rest in peace, For Lord, I rest in you.
I know the peace of God Which transcends this world, This peace will rest in me.

2. All the anxious thoughts of my mind;
All of my unrest and disquiet:
When I have nothing but trust,
Lord, I offer it up, sacrificed.

Even in the dark hours of night,
May your countenance once more shine.
Oh, let your joy ever be
This poor heart’s richest feast: bread and wine.

When I lie down to sleep I shall rest in peace, For Lord, I rest in you.
I know the peace of God Which transcends this world, This peace will rest in me.

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