When it's really tough...There are times in our lives where we experience resistance. The worst of these times come through a person or persons who cause us pain through accusations, persecutions, criticisms, betrayals and sometimes even vicious attacks.
When these things happen, we lose sleep, we become paranoid and we start to catastrophize everything. We lose confidence in ourselves and make mistakes doing things we usually excel at. We become shadows of ourselves, losing our appetites and our senses of humour.
David experienced this when his own son, Absalom, staged a coup, grabbing power from his father through a horrible series of pre-meditated betrayals...
Now David had to flee. Psalm 3 is David's lament - but it is more than a lament - it is the point at which he chooses to trust in God and to transcend the debilitating effects of the betrayal and disappointment.
The Psalm is broken into 3 parts by the word 'Selah' which was probably a musical term indicating a musical interlude or maybe a crescendo that would give one time to reflect on what has been sung...
In the first part David reflects on the immensity of his challenges. He paints his situation in three very effective strokes:
- His foes are many
- They are active in pursuit of him
- The public polls were saying that God had forsaken him
In the second part David expresses his belief about God and makes a decision. He believes that God is his shield and that God will lift up his head. Based on this He cries out to God who answers him. We're not told what the answer was. Was it a promise? Was it a miracle? Was it a sense of peace? We're left to ponder this as the 'Selah' interupts us.
In the third part we see three things happen for David:
- David goes to sleep: Sleep is an incredible act of faith and trust. We surrender control trusting that God will keep us breathing and the earth turning while we are asleep. This is not tossing and turning. This is sleep that has handed the problem to God.
- David gains the confidence to ask God to deal with his enemies. Although he prays "Arise O LORD" it is not God who needs to arise, it's just David who now believes that God has not forsaken him and that he can ask for help. It is David's faith that has arisen.
- And now David is ready to trust God, not only now but in the future. And, in true kingly fashion, David is not thinking only about himself, but all of God's people.
|[A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.] |
1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him."
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.