The praying starts again in verse 6, with an acknowledgement of need— ‘Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”’
This reference to the ‘many’ that David refers to as he starts up his praying again seems to bring us back to the theme that we’ve returned to again and again in these first few Psalms…
It’s the doubting of the Anointed One, leading in the worst case scenario to conspiracy and treason.
And yet, in the light of the turmoil, David makes the best prayer-request of the whole Psalm—look at the request at the end of verse 6— ‘Let the light of your face shine on us’
No doubt if you know your Bible you’re thinking about the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6— ‘the Lord turn his face toward you / and give you peace.’ David simply names and claims that blessing for himself, and in Christ, he is right to do so.
The specific reference to ‘the light of [the Lord’s] face’ is especially significant. I can quote to you at least seven occasions where this ‘light of the Lord’s face’ motif repeatedly returns.
But then, look at the request of verse 7 too— ‘Fill my heart with joy / when their grain and new wine abound.’ What David is more literally saying there is that “the Lord has put more joy in his heart than theirs, even when they have a bumper harvest, he’s still more joyful than them, because the Lord has answered him.”
Which leads to the conclusion of verse 8— ‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, / for you alone, Lord, / make me dwell in safety.’
We had the gift of sleep first mentioned in the previous Psalm. The Lord Jesus—and all who are united to him—are given an invitation to place their lives in the hands of the Father, which sometimes results in the ability to sleep.
And here is David talking about it again, and once again emphasising the ‘lying down’ that comes before sleep, as he did in Psalm 3, but this time with more of an emphasis on dwelling in safety.
Which—and this should be no surprise to you at this point—actually once again gets us to the resurrection. Because ultimately what David was doing when he slept was practicing for death; that’s what Christians call death… sleep; why? Because resurrection is coming, and when our bodies are resurrected it will be just like being woken from death.
We’re talking about security here then. A reality not just for the individual Israelite, but for the whole nation. As Moses puts it in Deuteronomy 33—
So Israel lived in safety,
Jacob lived alone,
in a land of grain and wine,
whose heavens drop down dew.
Endlessly Re-Spawning Bad-Guys
I know some of you enjoy playing video-games where you have to defeat the bad-guys. Whether they’re aliens, or zombies, or some other kinds of monsters, the aim of many games is to eliminate these foes. And some of these games are harder than others…
The hardest ones from my very limited experience are the ones where the enemies continually respawn, again and again and again. No matter how many enemies you kill, they will always come back.
Well, this fallen-universe feels a bit like that sometimes…
As long as we’re alive, there are always going to be enemies of Christ who cause trouble in our lives. It’s important to acknowledge that because sometimes we can act as if something unforeseen is happening when we face opposition, but it should be expected. It hasn’t stopped in the book of Psalms, and it won’t stop for us either.
The Face of Christ
But we have something—or rather someone—better to focus on than our enemies. It’s the face of Christ, what’s sometimes called The Beatific Vision in theology, i.e. seeing the face of Christ, which really needs to be the propellor to a healthy Christian life, pushing us forward every day, getting closer and closer to the day when we see his face. Is that your desire? If it’s not, then it should be.
What’s more, make your request a request for joy too. We’re surrounded by people who are claiming to be joyful. For David it was people who claimed to be rejoicing over their harvest, for us it’s lottery-winners and sports-victors and those obsessed with the latest person they’re dating. But we should pray verse 7— ‘Fill my heart with joy / when their grain and new wine abound.’
And we should pray again for the ability to sleep like Christ could sleep. Acknowledging that it is only the Lord who can cause us to dwell in safety.
Do you realise that every time you lie down to sleep, you are practicing for your death? And have you realised that when you do eventually die, you are actually only going to be sleeping when you’ll be woken up by Christ on the last day?
This should be the way we think. It was the way that Christ thought; it was the way that David thought. May it be the way we think too.
 Psalm 31:16, Psalm 67:1, Psalm 80:3, Psalm 80:7, Psalm 80:19, Psalm 89:15, Psalm 119:135.