Lent Devotional: Psalm 4

by Jonathan Haefs

Psalm 4 (click here)
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. [Selah]

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:4-5)

How can you be angry and keep from sinning?

The Psalmist finds himself amidst troubling circumstances. He is being hurt, insulted, and slandered by others. Anger is not only a natural reaction, but can actually be a righteous one. There is such a thing as righteous anger toward sin.

The problem is that we quickly move from righteous anger to sinful anger by wishing ill will upon people, seeking revenge, and returning hurt for hurt. How do we keep from making this move into sin?

The Psalmist answers… “ponder in your own heart on your bed, and be silent.” What are we pondering? His next line points toward the answer… “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” Instead of opening our mouths in anger, we ponder our own sinfulness… our own need for a saving sacrifice in our place.

We ponder how we have been graciously forgiven by the Lord and we ponder how he is always good and right. He will judge all sin! No one will get away with anything. Every person who has ever hurt you… that wrong will be set right. Either they will experience the just judgment of the Lord, or their sin will be dealt with through repentance and trusting in the substitute sacrifice of Christ.

To act upon our anger is actually to not trust the Lord. When we use our anger to harm others, we are saying that we do not trust the Lord to do what is good and right. So… when we are angry, the ultimate question to ponder is, “Do I trust the Lord?”

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.