An appeal to God to confirm the faith and loyalty of his servant in the face of others who are turning to false gods in a time of prolonged distress.
st. 1 = v. 1
st. 2 = v. 2
st. 3 = v. 3
st. 4 = vv. 4-5
st. 5 = v. 6
st. 6 = v. 7
st. 7 = v. 8
Psalm 4 was liturgically assigned to the "director of music," probably for temple worship. It alludes to some prolonged national calamity, perhaps a drought (v. 7). The calamity has pushed the faith of many over the edge, and they are turning to whatever gods may possibly bring relief (v. 2). Such defection from the LORD also means that the divinely appointed king is rejected as having no authority. The psalmist appeals to God (st. 1), rebukes the faithless and calls them back to trust in the LORD (st. 2-4), asks God to show himself as the one from whom good comes (st. 5), and confesses joy and confidence in the LORD (st. 6-7).
Albertus (Bert) Witvoet (b. Joure, Friesland, the Netherlands, 1934) wrote the versification in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal. Witvoet spent his childhood and youth in the Netherlands, where he developed a love for music and singing. Currently a Canadian citizen, he is a member of a Christian Reformed church in St. Catharines, Ontario. Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the University of Toronto, Witvoet taught English at Hamilton Christian High School, Toronto District Christian High School, and Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto. Since 1982 he has been editor of the weekly Christian Courier (previously known as The Calvinist Contact). He has written poetry and translated poems from Dutch into English.
Times when the church's faith is severely tried, when trust in the Lord is ridiculed, and when people turn from God to try to find relief elsewhere.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook