A Psalm of Lament


A Psalm of David

David and Golith

David and Golith
by Steve Nethercott1


The Psalm is a message of hope and trust, but it is a hope and trust based on the confidence of experience. The Psalmist, in anguish and pursued by his enemies, appeals to the Mercy of God, knowing that his plea will be heard and he will be protected. He exalts God's Mercy and exhorts others to turn from their sins and place their complete trust in the Lord. In the midst of danger, confident in God's protection, he can sleep in safety and peace.

Psalm 4

A prayer to God
against the iniquities of men.

2 When I call, answer me, O God of justice; from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me!

3 O men, how long will your hearts be closed, will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

4 It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom he loves; the Lord hears me whenever I call him.

5 Fear him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still

6 Make justice your sacrifice, and trust in the Lord.

7 "What can bring us happiness?" many say. Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.

8 You have put into my heart a greater joy than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

9 I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Athanasian Grail Psalter1


A Psalm of trust, It continues the contrast between the good and the wicked developed the first and second Psalms. In this case, the Psalmist refers to Absolum and those who have joined him seeking the defeat his father, King David. The Psalm calls for Absolum's repentance and that of his followers. It is a pray for repentance and conversion. David advises Absolum not to seek earthy rule, but seek the fulfillment, peace, and saftey found only when a soul is in union with God.

The structure is as follows:

  1. Verse 2: An appeal to God to be heard.
  2. Verse 3-6: An admonition to the enemies of God
  3. Verse 7-9: The contrast between an impatience desire for the temporal, versus confidence in the eternal fulfillment found only in the Lord.


The Psalm, like all the Psalms, has a double reference. First it refers to David's battle with his rebellous son, Absolum, and second, it refers to Christ and His Church. David calls to God that his prayer will be heard. The awareness that God is near animates his soul and gives David the confidence to speak with God. Though his request had been granted, David continues to address God and prays, as we ought, without ceasing.

The betrayal David feels mirrors the abandonment Christ experiences on the Cross, and the opposition that will arise against His Holy Church. Like David, Jesus knows that His Father is near, and continues to pray in His suffering for our sins.

The psalmist warns against sin - that the time for repentance is at hand. Those who will not confess their guilt (Absolum and us}, and ask for mercy, will perish for the lack of seeking forgiveness. Sadly, so many make such a choice. David tells us to keep a holy reverence for the glory and majesty of God. You have a great deal to say in your hearts, do not let your confession and prayer go unsaid. Examine, your motives and action with serious self-reflection; let your thoughts fasten upon that which is good, and keep close to it. Consider your ways, and before you turn to sleep at night, examine your consciences with respect to what you have done in the day; particularly what you have done amiss, that you may repent of it. When you awake in the night, meditate upon God, and the things that belong to your peace. Especially, upon your sick-bed, consider your ways. Be still. When you have questioned your conscience, be serious, be silent, wait for an answer. Do not make excuses for your sins. Put your trust in the Lord.

Those of the wordl inquire for good, but not for the greatest good. They want outward good, present good, partial good, good meat, good drink, a good trade, and a good estate; but what are all these worth? Any good will serve the turn the head of most men, but a soul of grace will seek the Purest and the Highest and will not be put off. 2