6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 4:6–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
6a As a true shepherd of Israel, David knew the hearts of the people. It was a time of turmoil and frustration due to unfulfilled expectations regarding the covenantal blessings. It is not clear who the “many” were. Were they the skeptics (Craigie, 81; cf. Ps 3:2), or were they his supporters who honestly questioned what was happening? Whoever they were, David prayed for them also and called on God to make his covenantal blessings evident. He did this by an allusion to the priestly benediction (Nu 6:24–26). They asked, “Who can show us any good?” David responded by pointing away from himself and to the Lord as the author of blessing.
6b–7 David prays specifically for the nation and for himself. His intercessory prayer for the nation is that the Lord may restore the fullness of his blessing. “The light of your face” (v. 6b) is an idiom for the benefits of the covenant resulting from God’s presence (cf. Nu 6:25). The disgrace of the king has brought an end to God’s blessings. While the people lamented, David prayed. He prayed because the Lord had “filled [his] heart with greater joy.” David had the personal assurance of God’s presence. God-given joy is vastly more important than all the food the world can give. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23) and therefore cannot be imitated.
4:6–8 / This final section raises the issue of grain and new wine. In this connection the question Who can show us any good? probably has particular reference to agricultural “goods” (cf. 34:10, 12; 104:28; 107:9; and esp. 85:11–13, which also connects Yahweh’s gift of “good” with his “righteousness”). The psalm’s answer to this question is clear: Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. This request echoes the Aaronic benediction (Num. 6:22–27) and may imply the speaker is a priest (also note the concern for right sacrifices). The Aaronic benediction also closes with the bestowal of “peace,” which is precisely the note on which Psalm 4 closes: I will lie down and sleep in peace. This is in direct contrast to the opponents who are to tremble “when you are on your beds.” Thus, Yahweh’s people may enjoy security in the midst of distress. Verse 7 does make an implicit contrast between their enjoyment of material goods and the greater joy with which Yahweh has filled my heart. Priority is given to what Yahweh grants within, as opposed to what people enjoy outwardly. But the bestowal of agricultural prosperity is also part of Yahweh’s promises, as the psalms (e.g., Pss. 65; 85) and the prophets (esp. Hos.) make clear.
4:6 any good: Although our lives often seem to be filled with uncertainty, there is never uncertainty with God. light of Your countenance: This phrase recalls the Aaronic benediction (Num. 6:26) and indicates God’s favor. Those on whom the Lord shines His face are truly blessed.
4:7 grain and wine: The joy God gives transcends the joy of the harvest. Agricultural produce, the result of abundant rain on fertile soil, was a blessing of God on His people. But there is something greater than full barns and overflowing cisterns—the joy of God’s presence.
4:8 The peace that God gives is far from a relaxation technique. It is a peace that enables an anxious person to lie down and sleep (3:5).
4:6. This verse probably refers to the many discontented people following David. They would follow anyone who could show them good prospects. David’s answer to their question was a prayer for blessing (cf. Num. 6:24–26); that God would cause His face to shine on them (i.e., bestow His favor; cf. Pss. 31:16; 44:3; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19; 119:135). God would satisfy their complaint, as He had done so often in Israel’s history.
4:7–8. The joy and contentment David experienced in trusting in the Lord was greater than the mirth of the harvest festivities. Even in distress and away from the visible evidence of God’s goodness, he enjoyed peace and safety in his God (on sleep; cf. 3:5). True joy and peace depend not on circumstances but on God’s protection and provisions (cf. Gal. 5:22; Rom. 14:17).