When my enemies attack (Psalm 3)

Our 930 and 1115 Congregations are currently exploring 2 Samuel 14-24. These chapters tell the story of Absalom’s rebellion against David. Alongside the main teaching, we are encouraging people to reflect on some of the Psalms providing reflection, commentary and response on the events. Our preacher on Sunday picked up on Psalm 3 which David wrote about the time when he was on the run from Absalom.

Context

Each Psalm has two contexts. First of all, there is the context in which it was written. So Psalm 3 specifically goes with the events of 2 Samuel 14-18. However, secondly, it comes within the context of the book of Psalms. We tend to pick up each Psalm in isolation but in fact, the book itself is structured so we are meant to see how they fit together. Psalm 3 has a context within the Psalter.

Psalm 1 tells us about the fate of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are blessed or happy. They refuse to entertain sin and partner with sinners. They are not drawn into mockery. They root their lives in God and his word. David represents the righteous as an example of a faithful believer and even more wonderful

Psalm 1 tells us about the fate of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are blessed or happy. They refuse to entertain sin and partner with sinners. They are not drawn into mockery. They root their lives in God and his word. David represents the righteous as an example of a faithful believer and even more wonderfully as a type of Christ. Jesus is the one true righteous and blessed man. Psalm 1 tells us that God is sovereign over life meaning hope for the believer but destruction for the wicked.

Psalm 2 takes us into a sinful world where powerful people rage and conspire against God. This is folly. God laughs at their stupidity. God is sovereign and will defeat his enemies. God will establish his son’s kingdom. The son who is king must be submitted to. David is the King who will see his throne established but remember, this is a type, pointing forward to the true and greater King, Jesus.

This gives us the context in which we are to face our circumstances and respond in prayer and worship. This gives context to David’s response.

Oppressed by lies (v1-2)

David is on the run, he is in mortal danger. In 2 Samuel 15, we find him mourning as he climbs the mount of Olives on the way out of Jerusalem. In the Psalm we are told that his enemies mock him. They tell him that Salvation is impossible that there is no help coming from God.

We will experience this type of oppression from time to time. We will be tempted to believe that there is no hope or help, that we are on our own, deserted, that God will not or cannot save us. We hear that

–          From a secular world that tells us there is no God

–          From religion that tells us we must make the effort to be good enough

–          From people who mock, abuse, bully bringing shame and fear into our lives

–          From ourselves with our own self-talk whether say “ God could not possibly love me, God could not possibly forgive me. I am too far gone.”

–          From Satan who is the Father of lies and who “tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within.”

This Psalm acknowledges and confesses that reality. It also points us forward to Jesus. On the night he was betrayed he also crossed the Kidron valley and approached the Mount of Olives like David. He was mocked , taunted, abused by enemies who said “ He saved others but he cannot save himself.” Jesus was there for me and for you.

Security in the truth (v3-6)

David goes on to declare the truth.

–          Yahweh is his shield, his protector, his saviour.

–          Yahweh does answer his prayer, his cry for help.

David finds peace in this truth. He is able to find rest and to sleep. We find peace in the truth of God’s Word, God’s promises, God’s action. This is one reason why it is so helpful to read and memorize the Psalms, this is one way of replacing lies with truth. As a side note, I would particular encourage those who face anxiety and struggle with sleepless nights, disturbed sleep or nightmares to try reading a Psalm before going to bed.

Remember that David is providing an example to believers here. We trust in the Lord’s salvation. Remember as well that as a type of Christ, he points us to the Saviour. Jesus, the one who was mocked, beaten, betrayed, deserted, killed was vindicated. He was raised from the dead. We not only die with Christ but are also raised with Christ.

Calling on the Lord (v7)

Because David trusts God and believes truth, he calls out to God to rescue him. Modern ears may find the language disturbing, enemies are to be struck and crushed, their teeth shattered. How does this fit with the command to love our enemies and to do good to those who persecute us? There are two important things to remember here.

–          Justice will happen. We love our enemies in the hope that they will turn to Christ and discover that justice has already been done. He has received the just penalty in their place. However, if they do not repent, the day will come when they will give an account before God. Persecutors, bullies and abusers will receive justice.

–          We have an enemy. There is a spiritual warfare. Paul says that we don’t fight against flesh and blood. Our prayers remind us that it is God who has triumphed over Satan. Our prayers are a plea for God’s protection against the enemy’s attacks.

Conclusion (v8)

Psalm 3 is a wonderful encouragement for all who face oppression, persecution and suffering. It teaches us to rest in God our shield and our defender. Deliverance comes from God. We depend on him for blessing.

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