“Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Trying to sleep with disquiet in your heart is no easy thing to do. In fact, it can be downright impossible. This becomes particularly true when the turmoil is the result of some offense we have been dealt. It’s easy to lie there and just stew about it, but it’s better—and it may actually ultimately lead to a good night’s sleep—to have a conversation with God about it. Yet, where do we start? Psalm 4 offers us a great model to follow.
After starting his cry upward, toward God, David cries outward at those who have hurt him. In v. 2, this cry begins by calling them to realize the harm they have done, but also the ultimate worthlessness of it. Here, he continues his outward cry by assuring his opponents that he’s not alone in his fight.
David starts here by reminding them that “the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself.” What does he mean by this? Well, to put it simply, while God created every person on the planet, there are some who are more truly His than others. Now, this doesn’t mean He loves some more than others. It means they belong to Him in a special way. As David puts it here, they are His. There is a possessiveness to the relationship.
Think about how this relationship might work like this: When you feel a sense of possessiveness over something (or even someone), how do you treat it? You offer special care and protection and even advantages to that thing or person that you do not offer to those things which you have not similarly “set apart.”
Perhaps this will help: Think about the average customer loyalty program at a retail store. When you mark yourself out as one of “their” customers, they are going to extend special privileges and benefits to you that the normal customer cannot access. Consider an airline VIP club. You get a special place to wait for your flight. You get a special line to get on the plane. You get to get on first. You might get access to extra perks while in the air. When something is yours, you treat it differently.
In other words, then, David is reminding these folks—and himself—who are giving him a hard time that he’s not alone. This is like the kid being approached by some bullies claiming that his big brother is just around the corner. David says, “My God counts me as part of His friends and family group.” And the biggest benefit this yields Him is there in the second half of the verse: He will hear my prayer.
I belong to God and He will hear my prayer. That’s a pretty powerful cry to be able to make in the face of external antagonism. God counts me as an insider and He’s going to listen to what I have to say. The question to ask at this point is fairly clear: Can you honestly make this claim? Do you belong to God? Are you able to confidently assert that you are someone who is among the faithful and that your prayers are heard?
This kind of a claim goes against our cultural programming. We think it’s arrogant to say something like this. But David’s not saying this with even a shred of arrogance. He’s simply speaking honestly. If you are God’s, if you are among the faithful, own that. If you can’t own it for some reason, fix that. Fix it so that when the persecutions of life come flooding in, you can stand with confidence, stare them in the face, and proclaim: I belong to God and He is going to listen to what I have to say.