My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
David was in trouble.
When he looked around, all he saw were evildoers, enemies, adversaries and foes. A brief look through this rich Psalm gives us some idea of the condition David found himself in.
- His enemies were after him
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
- He was removed from the House of the Lord
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
- He experienced abandonment by mother and father
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
- He was defamed by false witnesses rising up against him
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
I don’t recognize a victim mentality coming from David, that I sometimes hear when a believer is under trials. Statements of his condition didn’t fall into that favorite category of mine, which I reserve for times like this, that is of blaming someone for my situation.
In all of his trials, David interspersed this psalm with confidence in God.
David’s life is a life of exhibiting confidence in God, when he was is serious trouble. Was David perfect – No, only the Messiah was able to live a life of perfection. But David did exercise confidence in the Lord when the chips were down, and this psalm typifies this character of David.
David’s life was in jeopardy, his kingdom is falling (this psalm was likely written during the insurrection of Absalom), his family was treacherous to him, and the political machine had turned against him.
What I find interesting is that he does not look for revenge directly. He begins with his confidence in the Lord and rhetorically asking of whom he shall be afraid. Everything had turned on David and he looks to the Lord as the stronghold of his life.
What is your stronghold? Family? Finances? Friends?
David had focused his confidence in the Lord through a continual faith. He had confidence since he had proven the Lord to be faithful. So many instances of David in his life seeing the faithfulness of the Lord may be noted, but it may appear to be giving obvious information. Suffice it to say, David’s trust in the Lord over the years had provided him the confidence he was living in during this crisis.
As I hinted at above, David does not look for revenge directly. Of course he is looking for a mighty rescue, for the Lord to pull him out of this jam. He doesn’t look for revenge, but looks to the Lord for the solutions. This is amazing in my estimation, since it is the default position to blame someone (usually God) for our troubles, and David sees the Lord as the focus and center of the situation.
Consider the last time you were being persecuted, abandoned or defamed. Did you focus on the condition you were in or on the Lord who is the Savior?
David looked to the Lord for strength.
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
David states that in the past, his enemies, adversaries and foes stumbled and fell. But David – you are in the midst of the greatest betrayal and fall from grace yourself. But dear reader, this is looking at the situation, and David is looking to the Lord, He comes back to his desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord” and to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”
How often have you been told that, in the midst of trials, this thinking is “pie in the sky” thinking, and that you need to plan, execute, do, prepare, analyze, organize, coordinate and designate.
Don’t get me wrong, for even in the time of David’s worst political danger, he executed plans to mitigate and overwhelm the enemy. Hushai was sent by David to that rebellious Absalom, in order to redirect him into a strategic error. David strategized and acted, but this psalm shows David’s source of strength, his priority and focus in life.
As David left his throne, his city and was being chased by his enemies, two truths come blaring out to me
Consider 2 Samuel 15, where we pick up David’s experience of leaving his capital.
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.
King David, after being rejected by the nation of Israel, his family and most of his support, climbed the Mount of Olives. This narrative speaks volumes of the Greater David, the Lord Jesus and His confidence in God the Father for His future trial. I have heard it many times that the victory was secured in the Garden. His strength for the torture of the crucifixion was found in the garden. David’s weeping and travail of soul was a picture of the Greater David, of His confidence in our Father God, and show’s us who we are to follow after.
And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
David did not send out an assassin for Ahithophel. David, if he was thinking only of his kingdom and of his own survival, may have reverted to taking revenge upon his friend and counsellor Ahithophel. This was not David’s response, but he prayed that the Lord would interfere with Absalom’s understanding. David knew Ahithophel would give excellent advice, but David prayed that the advice would be turned into foolishness.
How that happened was a combination of events. Hushai argued against Ahithophel in front of Absalom in giving “next steps” advice. Hushai wisely saw the subject he was providing advice to and fed Absalom’s arrogance and pride.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
The prayer of David was accomplished through the planning of David and the vanity of Absalom.
David’s confidence was again strengthened due his continued trust.
When hard times come, trust Him. Do not seek revenge, but seek to know God’s will and to follow it in your heart, mind and actions.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Difficult times train us to stand up, and will produce a confidence in the Lord that prepares us for future struggles. There is a war we are fighting, and as David experienced in the civil war that was erupting before his eyes, the only wise approach is to seek God and his will.
David’s admonition is wise advice
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
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