David Runs from His Son

November 30, 2012 at 10:41 AM 2 comments

Psalm 3 represents the first of 73 psalms that are attributed to Davidic authorship.  This is a sad Psalm because of the events that led up to it.  You will recall that David succumbed to the temptation to commit adultery with Bathsheba (cf. 2 Samuel 11).  What is interesting about the events described in 2 Samuel 11 is the steps that occurred, which brought David to a point of not only committing adultery with another man’s wife, but of committing murder in a vain attempt to keep his adultery secret.

Generally speaking, the content of this psalm can easily be seen to include a Christian’s reaction to the reality of persecution that takes place on a daily level in some part of the globe.  Because it is the Christmas season, it seems as though every atheist group comes out of the woodwork to declare their intentions to sue every time a cross or Nativity scene is displayed as part of the celebration of the Christmas season.

Most are aware that Jesus was not actually born during this time of year, but probably at some point in the no later than September of the year.  Christians began to observe Jesus’ birth on the 25th of December as a reaction to the pagan holiday where several deities were celebrated; “natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “Sun of Righteousness” whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers.” [1]  Then of course, there was the Winter Solstice that was also celebrated during that time.

Regardless, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th and atheists continue their onslaught.  I just read that a recent decision was handed down by a Federal court which actually allowed a family to continue placing their nativity scene on a public median.  This is something the family has done for years, since 1945 in fact.  Persecution is alive and well in the United States and shows no sign of abating.

Psalm 3 gets us into the heartfelt cries of David, who was on the run from Absalom, who had turned on him because of David’s complete lack of integrity as recorded for us in 2 Samuel 11 and following.

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.” Selah.

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!
For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.

In the case of David, he cries out to God that he has seen such an increase in adversaries and he is greatly troubled.  As J. Vernon McGee states in his commentary on the Psalms, this Psalm “intermingles both lament and confidence.”  David groans at seeing how so many are after him, attempting to hem him in and finally, so that David sees no rescue.

We see the struggle between lament at the circumstances and confidence in God’s ability to deliver throughout the psalm.  Authentic Christians can relate to this because at times, it seems like it is us against the world.

Yet, starting in verse 3, David assures himself by declaring that this same God who is fully aware of (and allowing) the tremendous onslaught against him, is the same God who stands as a shield against those evil forces.  David has absolutely no one else upon whom he can depend, but the question we ask is this; is there anyone greater upon whom David could rely?  The answer is a million times no.

In spite of the situation that David faced (or that you and I face), David arrived to several concrete conclusions:

  • the Lord is our shield
  • the Lord provides inner peace
  • the Lord gives us what we need to live
  • the Lord fights our battles for us

Verses 3 – 6 highlight the fact that even though things look really bad, David trusts God immensely.  He knows that he cannot put trust in himself and He must look to another.  A shield protects us from the fiery darts of our enemy, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6.  David is exercising faith here because he knows that only God can save him from what is transpiring against him.

When we exercise our faith in God’s ability to save us, God not only saves us from spiritual harm, but provides us with inner peace.  Does the Scripture text “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” come to mind, as we learn in Isaiah 26:3?
If we will allow them, the truth of the Psalms (and of Scripture in general) will build our spiritual character.  His Word will cause us to come to terms with our own finite nature and limitations and we will then realize that God and only God offers the type of protection we need in this life.
David also learned that God fought for him.  God fought the battles in the spiritual realm for David.  It must have been difficult for this warrior to give up his desire to rely on his own strength and cunning and to allow God bring a victory His way for His glory, but that is what he learned to do.  It is the same with us.
There are many things in this life that are worthy to fight for and as Christians, we cannot simply take a “whatever happens, happens” attitude that causes us to simply give up.  We should approach every situation with the knowledge that God will direct the outcomes for His glory, but most of the time, we do not know what those outcomes will be until they actually become outcomes.
When we see something that is not right, we must do what we can to correct it always understanding that the source or origin of that situation begins and ends in the spiritual realm.  What we are seeing is a symptom of that spiritual battle.  If we simply fight against the symptom without submitting to God for His rule over that entire spiritual battle, we are likely wasting a good amount of time and effort over something that is beyond our control anyway.
Psalm 3 ends in a rousing cheer of gratitude and praise to God for His ability to save His people from the onslaught of the enemy.  I sometimes think of what might have happened had not Jesus spent a good amount of time in prayer on the night He was betrayed.  We can clearly see that Jesus was in absolute emotional anguish over the events that would soon come to pass, as He spent a sleepless night in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Psalm 3 tells us that with every approach of the enemy, we should quiet our hearts and spend time submitting ourselves to God.  This will cause us to be able to sit down on the inside while a storm rages all around us.  It will help us to place our full trust in God and His ability to save us from that storm.
I saw a picture the other day of a mother squirrel holding a newborn baby squirrel while she stood in the crook of a tree.  The baby squirrel had no understanding of the world at that point and all the predators that constantly lurked for their next meal.  It was simply and literally resting in its mother’s arms.  That’s all it needed.  Mother would protect, nurture, and guide.  If a predator approached, the mother would likely do everything she could to ward off the attack while doing her best to keep her young offspring from becoming that predator’s meal.
There really is no safer place that the authentic Christian can be regardless of how things look in life.  This is often a difficult lesson to learn, isn’t it?  However, it is one that we must learn if we are going to experience the peace and deep sense of safety that David describes in Psalm 3.  Though trouble was all around him, God had David’s back.  David knew it, he reveled in it, and offered tremendous praise to God because of it.  How can we do any less?
When we face persecution, we need to stay on our knees until God provides His peace and knowledge of His protection.  That will only come when we give up our will exchanging it for His.

[1] http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html

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  • 1. Sherry  |  December 1, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    You may not like me for saying this but I almost hope the athiests are successful in getting rid of the ungodly holiday called Christ-mass.* God told us not to worship Him using such idolatry and since this holiday was originally, and still is, a celebration for the birth of Tammuz we should not think God is pleased though we have put on it the Christian dress. Was God pleased with the golden calves that His chosen people set up? No. Its what God desires for worship of Him, not what we say in our hearts about the way we celebrate holiday. Our hearts should not be trusted and the way to have a good conscience is to make every effort to be obedient to His will.

    The reason I say I almost hope the athiests are successful is because I don’t believe there should be any censorship of any relgious holiday so long as no laws are broken. This is America and there is, for now, Freedom of Religion

    * http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract4.html

    FTA: A true Christian would want to examine everything they say, because Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” We will now set aside all of the customs, glitter and traditions of Christmas, which were taken from pagan witchcraft and popularized by the Roman Catholic Church, and we will focus on the true meaning of the words, “Merry Christmas!”

    The word “Merry” is simple to define. It unquestionably means to be happy, joyful and light-hearted. The word “merry” fits into the ambience of laughter and frivolity. This word “merry” by itself is innocent and innocuous enough, but as we will now see, it becomes heinously blasphemous when used with the word “Christmas.”

    • 2. modres  |  December 1, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Hi Sherry,

      No, I don’t dislike you for sharing your opinion. 🙂

      There are two reasons I would like Christmas to continue.
      1) it annoys atheists, and
      2) it gives Christians a greater reason to proclaim that Jesus is God

      I realize that the celebration of Christmas began to COVER the original pagan holiday. Frankly, I think it was a great idea because I am not worshiping a tree or the ornaments, or anything else. I celebrate Christmas because it recognizes the birth of my Savior and I think that should be celebrated, just as His life, death, and resurrection should be celebrated.

      The fact that atheists don’t like it is reason enough for me to continue.

      What I LOVE about Christmas is that it FORCES people to deal with God. Atheists get all bent out of shape at this time of year because they HATE the fact that they see nativity scenes everywhere they look.

      The fact that the enemy has done his level best to turn it into a grand display of capitalism is not lost on me, yet try as they might, they cannot shake the fact that authentic Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth (even though He was likely born no later than September.

      We can disagree about this, Sherry – I’m fine with that. I realize that there are many who believe any form of Christmas is paganistic and therefore, should be avoided. I simply don’t agree.

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