Briefing: Living in hostility with anyone is stressful and destructive. Can you think of a time when you had someone angry with you to the point of spreading lies and rumors about you?
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 4.
On the Street: When I read Psalm 4, I can recall times in my life where I have felt the same as David. We see this kind of behavior more in broken relationships as opposed to co-workers or acquaintances. For someone to turn on you and attack you, they are usually a family member or friend. Strangers have a tendency to cut their losses and walk away. With this in mind, we can understand the people David was addressing were close friends. This would be the case in a personal attack.
We also have to understand David was a very public figure, one in great authority. At the time of this writing, law enforcement is enduring criticism and open hostility. NFL players are taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police misconduct. The individuals who are doing this are setting an example of disrespect for authority. The children who look up to these athletes will eventually mimic this behavior and we will have a new generation of people who hate law enforcement. It is hurtful and harmful to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to protect and serve the communities they work in. This does not even address the men and women who served this country in the armed forces who also put their lives on the line. They fought for the very flag that is being used as a tool of protest. It is not fair to them.
With this being said, we can sympathize with how David felt in the midst of his attacks. The notes in my Zondervan NIV Study Bible suggest the people were upset at King David because of a possible drought. I hope our reaction is as righteous as David’s. He did not seek vengeance or stay awake at night plotting against those who stirred up trouble. In verse 4 David says, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”
Verse 8 tells us David slept in peace trusting in God. This is a remarkable picture of trusting in the LORD. David knew his scripture (OT scriptures) and he trusted God to protect him. He would have been familiar with the verse in Deuteronomy where God tells us, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”. Let God do His work and let us go back to doing the work God has called us to.
In the morning, David wakes up and starts the day with prayer. This sets the pace for his whole day and gives him focus. David led his people in the confidence of knowing that God would protect him. How would the culture of law enforcement change if we did this? We can set an example of prayer instead of hate and disrespect. We are the men and women called by God to lead in righteousness. We must be set apart and be recognizable as different in a righteous way. David responds to these attacks by saying, “Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself. The LORD will hear when I call to Him.” This is our challenge, not just for today, but for the rest of our lives on this earth.
Investigational Resources: Romans 12:19, Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 4:3-4 and Matthew 5:43-48.
Officer Safety Principle: Smile at the haters and pray for them. Realize they don’t hate you personally; it is the authority you stand for.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!