The reason for the psalmist’s peace is at least as important as the peace itself, or else King David could easily rest under false pretenses, having deluded himself into thinking that peace exists where there really is no peace. Accordingly, he gives the reason: “For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell securely.” The term “alone” is crucial for understanding this verse. After all, the King could call upon his many armies to defend him. He could amass horses, chariots, siege machines, and every kind of weapon. Doing so, however, may betray that his hope is not in God but in the false gods of mortal weaponry (see Psalm 20:7; 1 Samuel 17:45; Habakkuk 1:16).
David can know that his peace is legitimate because it is not sourced in the superficial vanities of the world, saviors who always promise more than they can deliver; rather, his peace is sourced in the most real thing of all—the God of Israel. Yet, it is not merely that God is real that affords David such peace, but that God is the active Agent in history who will “make me dwell securely.” This precise phrase is very important in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is used repeatedly in reference to God’s promise to make the nation of Israel “dwell in safety” (e.g., Leviticus 25:18-19; Deuteronomy 12:10; Isaiah 11:12; Jeremiah 23:3; 29:13; 30:10; 31:8-14; 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; 28:26; 34:25, 28; 36:24). In the mind of the ancient Israelite, the broader concept of national safe-dwelling extended downward to the individual, as here in Psalm 4:8. David’s peace was not only in the real God of Israel but in a God Whose past heroic acts of national rescue had proven He can and does “make” His people “dwell in safety.”
Too often, a believer’s sense of peace is artificially sourced and, as such, proves inadequate to face the trouble of the day. But even if we were to graduate to a nominal trust in God’s sovereign control, we would still not reach the level of faith expressed in Psalm 4:8. We must come before the Father with confidence in His saving power, a power He has proven historically through Jesus. In as much as the salvation of Israel served as David’s historical reference point for God’s ability and desire to save, so it is in the incarnation and gospel of Christ that we find God’s sufficiency to serve as our rightful source of peace.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”
Psalms 4:8 NASB1995
Pray with me-
God, All-Knowing, All-Present, All-Wise, All-Patient, and All-Powerful, grant us the genuine peace that You alone can give. Let it be founded not in the weak trappings of wealth and high walls but in the knowledge of the Holy One, the God of Heaven, who would not even spare His own Son, but instead gave Him up for us, and in so doing proved that, in Christ, He would also grant us the peace of His Holy Spirit.
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