Preacher: “Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.”
Seeker: Preacher, isn’t that just a little presumptuous of you to demand the Divine’s attention?
Preacher: Well, I guess it could be interpreted that way. Actually, I am quoting the psalmist; and it is sort of impudent. We are used to a pleading or beseeching of the Divine’s attention. The psalmist is seeking the Divine’s attention to issues that the psalmist feels needs to be addressed quickly and completely.
Seeker: “How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah” Now is this the psalmist, or the Divine answering back?
Preacher: This is the psalmist, King David we are to assume, who is asking those around him how long they are going to dishonor him. Commentators suppose that it was written to address the time that part of the royal court, and David’s family, were rebelling against him. And David is warning them if they are opposed to him, they are opposed to the one that the Divine favors and supports.
Seeker: “But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.” King David seems very confident of himself and his place in the Lord God’s favor and affection. Maybe that is why he feels entitled to call on the Lord God’s attention.
Preacher: “When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.”
Seeker: It sounds as if David is both admonishing them and trying to keep them from deeper sinning.
Preacher: A good king or ruler will watch out for his/her people – correct them, guide them, and lead them to a better way of life. Much like a leader should do for those under her/his supervision.
Seeker: “There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD!” Am I understanding this correctly, that King David is trying to help those who are seeking him harm? That whatever feelings they may have towards him will end up harming them, and so they should take their direction and guidance from the Lord God?
Preacher: You have the accurate understanding, Seeker. That whatever personal feelings King David has, his greater concern is what will happen to his family and court/subjects if they pursue their course of action. David commends to them the way he has lived his life, and testifies to what the Divine has done for him. “You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.” (Psalm 4)
Seeker: But I was not correct in my first assumption, that writer or speaker was acting out of arrogance. He was not asking the Divine to listen to him for self-centered agenda but to pay heed to circumstances that would harm others. It makes me think of all of the protesters who seem to speak with angry voices. It is not anger that they are expressing but fear what they see happening or possibly happening. It tells me that if we keep at the forefront the good and well being of others, that our protestations and exhortations will be of benefit and a positive force.
Preacher: Shalom & Selah, Seeker, Shalom & Selah!