continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

which is Psalm 4

vs 4 jumped out at me in this one: ‘in your anger, do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.’

this is a tricky one because generally we think of anger as the bad guy, but there are places in the bible where we see righteous anger in force [the story that comes to mind is Jesus clearing out the money lenders in the temple [Matthew 21.12] and as it explains here, don’t let anger drive you to sin… similar to temptation which is not sin, but unless we deal with it defiantly when it rears its ugly head, it quickly leads to sin, which James illustrates graphically:

‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [James 1.13-15]

in the same way anger can give birth to rage and violence and bitterness and resentment if it is allowed to conceive… we need to learn to respond well to things that make us angry.

and they should – rape, sexual abuse, racism, christians not living out Christ-following lives, unforgiveness – these things should all make us angry… but in our anger we must never sin – does the anger drive us to action, positive action and radical acts of justice, grace and mercy? it should when we invite the Holy Spirit to take control and direct us.

the image of the second part of the verse – ‘when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent’ – i like that because it gives me the idea of someone who is angry, but struggling to not sin as a result and so the advice is hey dude, go chill, take a time out, regroup, still your heart, create some silence and listen to the voice of God over the voice of how the world is screaming you should respond [revenge, mob justice, retaliation…] and then later, when that has been achieved go out and act wisely but still driven by the same passion that was driving your anger.

another danger can be when people add the word ‘righteous’ to plain sin-enducing anger to justify why their brand of un-love is acceptable and that might be another great opportunity for some lying on the bed and stilling of the heart…

there is a lot more in this psalm, but that’s one thort that inspires me and i’m very interested to hear what stood out to you?

also if you know of anyone else who might be interested in this walk through the psalms, please pass on the link – the more people jumping in and commenting and sharing their thoughts and observations the better, don’t just be a sponge, share with us what you got…

[To continue on to Psalm 5, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

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