Psalm 3 -A psalm of David. (When he fled from his son Absalom.)
The Background to this cry for Help.
David had sinned.
David had sinned grievously.(see 2 Samuel 11)
God’s prophet had pronounced judgement on David’s sin, but forgiveness for the man.(2 Samuel 12:1–13)
There would be consequences. But God had accepted David’s repentant heart.
God and he still walked together, but the consequences of his sin would remain with him until his very death. The word of the prophet had declared that there would be family rivalry in David’s own house, (resulting in betrayal, lust, envy, and every other sin of which he was guilty would be in the family line now).
Sadly, now what he did in secret, Absalom was to do in broad daylight. (2 Samuel 12:11)
In secret, David had betrayed his loyal soldier and friend, Uriah .
In the open, Absalom betrayed his father, splitting his kingdom.
In secret, David had lain with Bathsheba, another man’s wife.
In the open, Absalom lays with his father’s concubines on the rooftop of the king’s palace.
King David escapes for his life into the wilderness.
Absalom relaxes into his father’s conquered palace.
This is the background of the psalm.
In this context, David’s cry becomes all the more tragic:
“Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.” Psalm 3:1–2
And for good reason.
Their beloved king had betrayed innocent blood.
He had ordered the murder of a loyal soldier in cold blood.
Their beloved king had luxuriated in the comfort of his palace when his place was with his troops on the battlefield.
Their beloved king had lusted, and used his power illegitimately to fulfil his own sexual desires, for his own personal pleasure.
But listen to David’s cry:
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
This sinful man, crying out to God in his utterly desperate need, does get an answer from God who on his throne of holiness.
I dare not rush too quickly over such good news.
God makes himself available to this earthly king, despite his corruption. Why is that? If you have read Psalm 2 in the series, you may ponder upon its truths in the light of this Psalm.
What was God asking of the earthly kings to do? (Psalm 2:10–11)
Isn’t this exactly the posture David is showing in approaching his God?
David goes on:
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side
Why aren’t you afraid,David, I ask?
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
David is a broken man.
David is a humble man.
David is a desperate man.
David honours God in this prayer.
Is there any hint of duplicity in his heart as he writes this?
No. A thousand times no.
Is he a godly sinner before God?
He cries out for mercy in his time of need!
Is he confident in his own strategies to relieve the civil unrest and internal strife in his kingdom?
You better know he only has one resource- and that is the Lord God Almighty himself.
David, of all the men in the Old Testament scriptures, was commended as “a man after God’s own heart.” Like us, he has his sins and his times of rebellion.
But- and this is such an important but- he also shows us the way back to God: admit our helplessness; come before God with empty hands and expectant hearts.
God does not turn away the humble and crushed in spirit.
God embraces the man who cries for mercy, even as he is being swallowed up by the very consequences he has brought upon himself through his wrongdoing.
For our own comfort and encouragement, let us remember:
God is merciful to the repentant.
God is near the broken hearted.
God disciplines his own people.
God forgives transgressions.
We are accountable for our actions.
We sometimes bring suffering upon our own heads.
God is a present help in trouble- regardless of the trouble we get ourselves into.
God is deliverer. There is nothing outside of his control.
When we hide our sin, God will bring it to the light, for He is Holy.
Putting Things in to Perspective:
In Psalm 1 I wrote about about the two roads to travel in life: the way of righteousness or the way of disobedience.
In Psalm 2 the God who is Sovereign was revealed. He rules the affairs of men. He has appointed His Son to reign in authority over everything he has made.
In Psalm 3 we learn about King David, the one through whom Messiah would come. He is a sinner, and needs God’s mercy. How much more do we? We err in so many ways.
Blessed be our God- for He is gracious and merciful. His love knows no limits. He is Holy, and takes pleasure in righteousness, and hates evil.This is an apt application to draw for our lives from this Psalm!
There is so much encouragement here for the weary saint, for the rebellious saint,indeed, for every pilgrim on this earth. I encourage you to draw near to this God of mercy and love. There is no depth from which he cannot draw you, and no place you can flee from his presence. Knowing all, He delights to pardon those who confess their faults to him, and turn from their evil ways.
There is no one righteous- but He invites us to come to him as we are, for we can come no other way. Won’t you come?
See more of Geoffrey’s work here.
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