I have reached Psalm 4 as I memorise my way through the Psalter, and was really struck by the way David refers to God as “God of my righteousness” (4:1). It’s a unique ascription in Scripture and a fascinating one, both in itself and in its context.
David is again pleading for relief and protection from his enemies and calls on God, as the “God of my righteousness” to act on his behalf. Why this unique description of God, and why here?
Well, David knows that he is blameless in regard to the false accusations that are being made against him (4:2). He is being slandered by his enemies, but he knows that God knows the truth. He is not claiming to be sinless, and pleads at the end of v1 for God’s grace because he needs it, but in relation to those opposing him he is righteous.
David’s God is not only a God of righteousness, in and of himself; he is also the upholder and defender of David’s own, albeit imputed, righteousness. Spurgeon says of this verse,
Thou are the author, the witness, the maintainer, the judge, and the rewarder of my righteousness; to thee I appeal from the calumnies and harsh judgements of men.Treasury of David. Vol.1 Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2014 p34
James Montgomery Boice writes,
There are times when we are falsely accused. At other times we are slandered. Someone may want to advance himself by getting us out of the way. Or an attack may be occasioned by pure envy….How do we rise above it? In this psalm, David, the target of many false accusations, shows how.Psalms Vol.1 Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005 p38