In his poem, “Terrence, this is stupid stuff!”, A.E. Housman writes, “Therefore, since the world has still much good, but much less good than ill, and while the sun and moon endure luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure, I’d face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good.” In the first phrase of Psalm 4 and verse 6, David points out how most are pessimistic about his future as King of Israel after Absalom won the people’s hearts and attempted to take the kingdom for himself. How is this going to turn out? David says, “There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?” They tell David to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Things don’t look good for you, David! The situation looked bad for sure! Absalom drove David from his home in Jerusalem. He slept with David’s concubine as a public demonstration that he was the new king. He raised a large army with some of David’s closest allies of the past to chase him down and kill him. Even David’s closest advisor, Ahithophel, had sided with Absalom. In 2 Samuel 16:23, we read about him, “Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.” Things did not look good for David

But David did not look at “things.” His circumstances did not deter his faith in the God who put him where he was, and he looked only to God to brighten things up in his life and those who “trained for ill” all around him. The second part of Verse 6 says, “Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” The Priests, Abiathar, and Zadok had the Ark of the Covenant brought to David to guarantee his victory over Absalom.  In 2 Samuel 15:25-26, we read, “Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” Jesus prayed for deliverance from his fate on the cross while in the Garden of Gethsemane but closed his prayer with, “Nevertheless, thy will, not mine, be done.” The three children in Daniel were about to be thrown into the furnace if they refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar. They said, “We don’t know if God will deliver us or not, but regardless we will not worship Nebuchadnezzar.”

The children were at peace with whatever God’s will was for them. Jesus, of course, was at peace with God’s will for him. David, too, had peace with God’s will, whichever way it might go. Even though the priests had returned to the city, the priestly prayer for the people was answered in David’s case at this time. It says in Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”