When used of the Creator, light can mean several things, but it is often a reference to His glory, His beneficence, and His love of righteousness. To have the light of God’s face shine upon a person, then, is to have the glory of the Lord shine in a special way on the illuminated individual. It indicates His approval of the person on whom He shines as one who is righteous in His sight.
Scripture describes the experience of God’s light as the greatest blessing that any human being can ever enjoy. This is certainly true of today’s passage, which says that the light of the Almighty’s face brings more joy than the harvest of grain and wine (Ps. 4:7). For an agrarian society like ancient Israel, whose livelihood was dependent on such harvests, this is a powerful statement of the glory of the blessings of the Lord. In keeping with Psalm 4:6, we also see in the Aaronic blessing the idea that life in the light of God is the highest honor for mankind (Num. 6:22–27; John 8:12).
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
Thou hast given me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
This is the supplication of a humble servant of the Lord.
O men, how long shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah
Can the reader not but be struck by the powerful connection to our contemporary situation? What is the primary purpose of our contemporary radicals other than to destroy the honor of anyone who opposes, or even insufficiently supports, their program? We have reached the point where supposedly educated, responsible employees of a major corporation, that is Google, labeled three people, two of whom are practicing Jews and all three of whom have had relatives murdered in the Holocaust as “Nazis.” What is this other than the seeking “after lies” in order to advance a partisan political program? What is this other than dishonest dehumanization used to silence legitimate political discourse and in the extreme, justifies physical violence?
Yes, lies are told by all humans regardless of their ideological leanings. However, can anyone name a major corporation that falsely labels mainstream liberals as Communists or Stalinists? Is there a mirror-image city to Portland, where Mayor Wheeler allows Progressive Antifa to rampage through the streets beating up people and destroying property with impunity; that is a city that offers the same policy to neo-Nazis? The answers are clearly no.
Am I here claiming that conservatives, libertarians, moderates and classical liberals are “righteous” in God’s sight? Of course not!
However, neither can we pretend that the contemporary dominant Progressive class have not used their power to dehumanize their opponents through lies. They dominate the commanding heights of our nation’s major institutions (e.g., mass media, education, entertainment, religious organizations, professional groups, etc.), so their behavior must be carefully scrutinized.
With power comes responsibility, and when power is abused we are within our rights as Christians to call out the perpetrators within context of God’s Word. Note that Progressive Christians have been doing this for generations. They therefore have no right to criticize this use of Scripture against the abuses of their ideological fellows.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Who are “the godly” in God’s sight? A Reformed Christian would answer that they are God’s chosen (before the beginning of time) Elect. The Westminster Confession of Faith begins its teaching on this topic as follows.
1. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed.
There is no political dimension to this teaching. Thus, Christians in good conscience can hold differing political positions. However, if a Christian starts to justify purposeful dishonesty or dehumanization as political tactics then they should shudder at the implications and repent.
Be angry, but sin not;
commune with your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
We are free to become angry at what we believe to be the failings of our opponents, be they political, organizational or other. However, we are not free as Christians to adopt unrighteous tactics even if our opponents use them against us.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
All that we can or should do is to in honesty, humility and competence make our best arguments in the marketplace of ideas and then “trust in the Lord” for the end results. Yes, there are extremities in which acts of defensive violence can be taken. There are also cases in which lawful force must be used to restore order or to protect the innocent. However, our first and foremost purpose should always be in pursuit of peaceful resolution of disputes, be they personal, political or international.
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, O Lord!”
It is only through the light of God’s countenance that good can come to pass in this fallen world.
Thou hast put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety.
We can live in good conscience and peace when we entrust ourselves completely to Christ and obey His commands.