What do we do if we suffer injustice? We’re allowed to be angry. The bible acknowledges that. Some Christians mistakenly think that it’s sinful to feel angry about wickedness, evil, and sin. But we can be rightfully angry about injustice, oppression, abuse, cruelty, ungodly control, manipulation, dishonesty and betrayal. God is angry about such things which are against His will.
Yet King David knew that we mustn’t let our angry feelings lead us into sinful actions, ‘Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah’ (Psalms 4:4). He seems to be saying that we are to think quietly about the things that make us angry and decide whether we should be taking any action. We can let God deal with the situation and wait upon Him and pray for His help, ‘Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!’ (Psalms 4:1). His advice is ‘Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord’ (Psalms 4:5).
David prays to the Lord ‘Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ (Psalm 4:6). What a close relationship David has with God! For he says, ‘But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him’ (Psalm 4:3). His past experience of God has been so good, ‘You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety’ (Psalms 4:7-8).
I don’t believe what David is saying here is that we should never take any action to put things right, or bring about a resolution to problems, but anything we do mustn’t be sinful. Instead things should be done God’s way. And in his letter to the Ephesians Paul would seem to have Psalm 4:4 in mind when he says, ‘Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil’ (Ephesians 4:26-27). This could mean that we should take some kind of action to resolve matters before the day ends and make sure the devil doesn’t use our anger for his purposes.
We have the role model of Jesus, who never sinned, but stood up to evil and confronted it. Yet He also trusted in God’s protection and encouraged the disciples to be in the place of faith and not fear. Many times, He asked the disciples why they were afraid and told them God was a heavenly Father who cared and looked after His children.
Either way, the result of praying and then resolving things God’s way, or of praying and deciding to simply trust in God and wait for Him take charge of the situation, means we can sleep at night without tossing and turning, ‘In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety’ (Psalm 4:8).
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I thank You that the psalms so often help us to know what to do with the problems we encounter. I pray I can be like David and find a place of rest and peace amidst the attack of the enemy, knowing You’re a shield about me and You hear my prayers when I call out to You. I want to put my trust in You and sleep securely in the knowledge that You love me and care for me. Amen.
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