Thursday, April 7, 2011
When You Are In A Mess of Your Own Making
Psalm 3 is titled “A Psalm of David When He Fled From Absalom His Son.” To me, one of the most devastating things in life is conflict with your kids. And to have one hunt you down, knowing death is a very real possibility, makes me think this Psalm is as real as it gets. When you’re on the run, you don’t take time to write out things you’re not sure about!
But before we look at Psalm 3, let’s take a look at how things got this way. How did things between David and Absalom deteriorate into a situation where David has to flee for his own life?
The first time things went wrong for David was when he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. But it didn’t stop there. He chose trying to cover up his sin with murder. He had Uriah put in the position where he knew Uriah would be killed, definitely a case of premeditated murder.
David did repent, and he did suffer remorse, but David’s life was changed forever, because now he had to live with the consequences of his sin.
“One day, a mother explained to her five-year-old daughter that if she chose to disobey her, she would have to live with the consequences. “Oh, Mommy!” she said with a terrified look on her face. “Please don’t make me live with the Consequences. I want to live here with you!” (Illustration from “Help, I Need Somebody” by Paul Decker)
We all live with the consequences of choices we have made.
The aftermath of David’s sin shaped his whole family. Another truth to remember – your sin does not affect just you, but all those who live with and around you as well.
Years later, David’s son Amnon had strong feelings of lust for his half-sister Tamar which he indulged by raping her. When Absalom heard of it, he sought revenge and killed Amnon. David learned about Absalom’s crime, but didn’t do anything about it, and allowed Absalom to run away from Jerusalem. Why? Because David had done the same thing, murdering someone over sexual sin. He lost his moral authority with Absalom.
Later on, Absalom reasoned that he was morally superior and a better leader than his father, and staged a rebellion.
History tells us the rebellion so caught David by surprise he left home barefoot and weeping.
Yes, David was reaping the consequences of the bad choices he had made.
Has that ever been true for you? Have you felt like you are in a mess of your own making and you wonder if God will help you, even if it is your own fault?
Psalm 3 is for you!
Psalm 3:1-2 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. [The Amplified version says Selah means: pause, and calmly think of that.]
One thing about David, the man after God’s own heart, he was never afraid to tell God his problems!
He is feeling outnumbered.
And people tell him that God won’t help him.
Think about it! You’re in the worst mess you’ve ever been in and everyone tells you it’s hopeless – even God wouldn’t help.
In David’s case, I don’t think it is that people thought God couldn’t help him, they probably felt that God was unwilling to help him because of his past sin. They figured, “He is just getting what he deserves!”
That’s what Shimei thought. Shimei was a priest who was one of David’s officers, and he was the overseer of David’s vineyards. This is what he told David,
“The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!” 2 Samuel 16:8
And if that wasn’t enough, Shimei also cursed David and his men and threw stones at them!
Have you ever been guilty of thinking, “why pray for Sister So and So, she deserves what is happening to her!”
The truth is, none of us deserves God’s help – we’ve all messed up – and more than once!
Sometime after this experience David tells us:
Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. 10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Today, we are so blessed to also have this scripture to hang on to:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
But David makes a positive confession:
Psalm 3:3-4 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
Notice David is not ASKING God to be a shield, he is declaring that God IS his shield.
There was nothing glorious or head-lifting in David, but he put his focus on God.
David says “I cried to the Lord with my voice.” I think praying aloud helps keep you more focused on what you are praying. Spurgeon said, “Surely, silent prayers are heard. Yes, but good men often find that, even in secret, they pray better aloud than they do when they utter no vocal sound.”
People had been telling David that God wouldn’t help him, but David declares “He heard me from His holy hill.” Though Absalom had forced David out of Jerusalem, David knew it wasn’t Absalom on the throne on God’s holy hill. The Lord Himself was still there and would hear and help David.
Isn’t it great when you know that you know that the presence of God is with you? As I said, I don’t believe David would write something during this most challenging season in his life that wasn’t true. God had heard him!
And so David goes on to write:
Psalm 3:5-6 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
David tells that he was able to sleep, in spite of the intense pressure, and he awoke – he lived to see another day.
What a blessing sleep is! David tells us how he was able to sleep – the Lord sustained him. Actually, God sustains us all in our sleep, but we don’t think about it. When you are asleep, unconscious, dead to the world, you keep breathing, your heart keeps pumping, your organs are still working – why your body is even creating new cells!
I looked up what sustain means and saw some interesting statements – sustain means to nourish – to provide somebody with nourishment or the necessities of life - or to keep somebody going with emotional or moral support, to manage to withstand something and continue in spite of it.
In other words, God can provide you with what you need and the ability to keep on living life even if you are on the run for your life. He did it for David. He will do it for you.
Most of us will never experience getting ourselves into a situation like David. But no matter what, we can stand against anything, when we know we have made things right with God. David said he would not be afraid of ten thousand people. It makes me think of the scripture at Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Psalm 3:7-8 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
Arise O Lord is a military term used in Numbers 10:35 when Moses used this phrase as the children of Israel broke camp in the wilderness. It meant they were calling on God to go ahead to both defend Israel and to lead them to victory.
I find it so interesting that David wanted God to strike his enemies on the cheekbone and break their teeth – representing the cutting words and injuries that had been done to HIM. In other words, “Hurt them where they hurt me!”
He doesn’t ask God to let David get back at his enemies himself. No, he asks God to do it.
He knows by now that without God there is no real lasting solution. True salvation always comes from God, He is the ultimate Rescuer. David affirms that the Lord will always bless His own.
Stop and think on that!
I'm linking this post up to Thankful Thursday, because I am so thankful that God helps us even when we are the cause of our own mess. Visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage to read other thankful hearts.