First Off….read Psalm 3!
David’s son Absalom is vying for the crown…which means he’s looking to get rid of the current king…his father. So David is on the run, fleeing from his enemies, fleeing from his courts, fleeing from his son, fleeing from his home. And while on the run he calls out to God for help. On the run, when people said God would abandon him and not answer his prayers of deliverance, he calls out to God because knows God. He has a relationship with Him.
So what does this all mean? It means that there is only one place where we find comfort and strength. There is only one person who does not “seek” to remove you by force from where you are. There is only one person who truly comes to you in your time of need…and it’s not your best friend or sibling – it is God. Don’t get me wrong, Mom and Dad and family and friends will be there for you and have your back – but they cannot truly give you refuge. They cannot give you the peace that lasts.
What I find truly interesting (and encouraging) is that in this fleeing of David from his son and his son’s army, in his time of ultimate need, in his worries about what will happen, in probably his ANGER of what is taking place, he doesn’t seek out God’s wrath nor does God bring it. David doesn’t ask God to go out and avenge him. He seeks God to protect him, to give him the strength to hold fast and not have any fear…he asks for deliverance (removal from this moment). Yes, David asks God to “strike all my enemies” but it’s a defensive move – not an offensive one. Maybe it’s because David is running from family and we know that David loves his son tremendously and doesn’t want him hurt. Maybe David understands that THAT TYPE of petition is not one that God acts upon. Or maybe, maybe, he simply understands that regardless of where he is or who is after him – the Lord will continue to “sustain” him and give him what he needs.
I like that word, “sustain”. It’s a verb that means to strengthen or support physically and or mentally. We can be “sustained” by food or nutrients, we can be “sustained” by prayers and petitions of people and in many ways we use it to express how something “worked” and gave us what we needed for the duration of that time.
For David, being “sustained” by God included protection (“shield around me” in verse 3), God’s voice answering him at all times (verse 4), God waking him in the morning (ordaining the days of his life), and God giving him the protection and comfort he needs to actually lie down at night (one must be “at peace” in order to fall asleep). Another way to think of sustaining is “support”. God “supports” his people by giving them what they need when they need it…which is daily.
I love how this psalm ends: “From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” This goes from “David” and his needs…to God’s people and their needs. I would argue that text actually isn’t about David at all – it’s about God and what he does for his people. His flock. His children. David understood that his position was over God’s people and that it was God who put him there for a specific reason (and God would remove him if he so desired) – and it wasn’t about David at all. David made it about himself numerous times but after each sinful incident he was corrected and reminded of God’s charge to him to lead God’s people. Serve them and Him…not himself.
And I think that there is ultimately where we must go. David uses his last few words of this psalm to not continue to plead his own need and affirm his own faith but he uses the last bit of ink in his pen and the last space of his parchment to ask God to simply bless God’s people. To sustain them in all they need. Again, it’s a movement from the individual to the corporate.
I think David is on to something…