Psalm 3:1-6 (NKJV)
1 A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son. Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah 3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.
The text before us today was written by David when he was fleeing from his rebellious son Absalom. Few of us can imagine tasting the bitter fruit of a son who would become our personal enemy. The prospect is frightening and should cause us to be down on our knees, asking the Lord to spare us from such a fate.
You’ll notice that this is where we find David now – upon his knees, seeking help from God. His enemies have risen up against him – and O what a tragic set of enemies to have. David was in dire straits. Absalom had wooed the hearts of the sons of Israel away from David and managed to secure their affection for himself. He had the large army; he had the young and limber muscles; he had the loyalty of the people. David had little to nothing.
Ah, but David had the Lord. And so David comes before the Lord and seeks his assistance. My enemies have surrounded me, O Lord. Many are saying that my faith in you in the midst of this trial is folly. They are saying you won’t answer Me. And isn’t it the same for us? When we are in the midst of trial, do not our enemies – chief among them our own voices of doubt – scream to us, “There is no help for you in God!”
But notice what David declares in our psalm. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.” In the midst of the trial David takes refuge in the Lord. You Lord are a shield for me; when I lifted up my voice to You, You heard me. David turned to the Lord and trusted in Him, knowing that come what may the Lord was on His side.
And so notice the incredible peace that this trust in the Lord fostered in David’s life at the time. Here he was fleeeing from Absalom, his own son. His kingdom had been taken away; his glory diminished; his life threatened. And yet what does he say? “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” David was able – in the midst of personal and political disaster – to sleep and to awake in peace, for the Lord sustained him. Though David had little to no earthly comfort, he had the abiding presence of the Lord – and having the Lord was to have everything.
What an encouragement this text should be to us who are in the midst of personal or corporate trial. Need we lose sleep, so anxious and worried for the chain of events that we cannot keep our thoughts from racing? Or need we sleep all the time in order to forget what is before us and hide from the trials that confront us? David sets us a pattern and shows us that we need neither avoid sleep nor wallow in it – for the Lord Himself is our sustainer. If the Lord is for us, who can be against us?
Our confidence in the midst of trial is not in our circumstances. Our confidence in the midst of trial is not our own wisdom. Our confidence in trial is not in the kindness of our enemies. Our confidence in trial is not the certainty of a favorable outcome. Our confidence is in the Lord God, who sustains us, and promises to bless us – though ten thousands of people should set themselves against us round about.
And so, how are we doing? Are we trusting the Lord? When enemies rise up against us, are we despairing? Reminded of our failure to trust in the Lord when our enemies go on the attack, let us kneel and confess our sins in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, seeking the forgiveness of our Heavenly Father.