Summary: Exposition of Psalm 3:1-8 about David fleeing from Absalom, and turning to the Lifter of his head
Text: Psalm 3:1-8, Title: Peace in the Face of Death, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/30/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: story of Polycarp and his facing death
B. Background to passage: This is the first psalm attributed to David in the Psalter. But more than that, it is one with a circumstance, which gives us some insight to the mind of David while writing it. And also makes the psalm much more real to our lives and many of us face utter betrayal from people that we love, and find ourselves alone, hurt, and in need of deliverance. But by the grace of God, our Deliverer is coming!
C. Main thought: in this text we see how David dealt with suffering at the hands of others.
A. David’s Predicament (v. 1-2)
1. The situation is one of the most painful in David’s life. Explain Absalom’s murder, flight, return, forgiveness, politicking, and treason (even by sleeping with all David’s concubines in public). And so now David is fleeing from Jerusalem with any remaining supporters, Absalom having “stolen the hearts of the people.” He is running in fear of his life from his own flesh and blood. This is one of the most painful back-stabbings in the bible. And so he writes that his troubles and those who trouble him have increased. In fact, the wording in the text describes continuing growth, with the connotation of suffocation. Much of the language in the psalm is military, indicating physical persecution and fighting, but David also shares the shouts of the enemies. And they are spiritual in nature. Their derision is that not even God will deliver David. This is directed at his soul, instead of “me” in verse two. So this is an all out attack on David’s life and spirit.
2. Ps 6:3, 74:10, Job 2:9, 2 Cor 4:8-11, 1:8, 6:4, 7:5, 11:23-28
3. Illustration: Julius Caesar knew such treachery. Among the conspirators who assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 B. C. was Marcus Junius Brutus. Caesar not only trusted Brutus, he had favored him as a son. According to Roman historians, Caesar first resisted the onslaught of the assassins. But when he saw Brutus among them with his dagger drawn, Caesar ceased to struggle and, pulling the top part of his robe over his face, asked the famous question, “You too, Brutus?” reading Dear Abby the other day, and the story about woman who had waited to get married, found a man, set the date, and now sent out the invitations, and the aunt with cancer sending out invitations for a memorial service for herself before she dies for the exact same date, story of the sister who couldn’t get pregnant and the other sister who stole the name Jeremy after the conversation they had about naming a future child that, ask about Erika’s dad,
4. How many of you have ever been attacked by close family members? People that you thought you could trust betray you in the worst of ways. Ever felt like the world was getting smaller? Just can’t breathe, people, pressure, responsibilities, and certain individuals making it worse. Take comfort, you are not alone. The David, Job, Joseph, Moses, Jeremiah, and even Jesus are with you. And know that just about everyone in this room has been there. Some in more pain than others. Some experienced betrayal from spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents. God knows the whole situation, knows you, loves you unconditionally! And there are many in this body that need your experience so that they can make it through their own trials. This is partly why we are a body—we need each other. God helps us weather suffering, but one of the ways He does that is by the rest of us sharing the burdens. But know that with God’s help and others around you, you can have peace through ANY suffering inflicted upon you!
B. David’s Peace (v. 3-6)
1. David shifts his view from his problems to the Lord. And there is a very strong “but” here as David’s attitude changes from worry to peaceful confidence. Even so much so that he sleeps well that night. The key is that the Lord sustained him (v. 5), but specifically there are four ways David sees God that brighten his outlook, and cause him not to be afraid of the crushing weight of his multiplying enemies and decreasing space to escape. He saw God as 1) a shield to him. This was the kind of shield that surrounded and completely protected its holder. He saw God as 2) his glory. Some debate. But David surely here means God is his source, his sufficiency, his security, his treasure, his defender, his rock, his help, and his divine right! He is the last thing David has, and He is enough; in fact, more than enough! He sees God as 3) the lifter of his head. Explain the foot on the neck vs. lifting of the head picture. And He says God is his encourager. He is the one that comforts, and turns all things for good. And finally, he sees God as 4) the answerer of his prayers.