Summary: A practical message about how to survive the messes we make of life based on Psalm 3. Expository and alliterated, with PowerPoint if you e-mail me.
Psalm 3: Living With the Consequences
Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church
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!” the little girl said with a terrified look on her face. “Please don’t make me live with the Consequences. I want to live here with you!”
Well, unbeknownst to that little girl, we all live with the consequences, don’t we? We live with the consequences of the choices and decisions that we’ve made. Sometimes, we even live with the consequences of other people’s actions—someone else does something, and I’m left to deal with the repercussions. And many times, those consequences are not what we would want them to be.
Whether through our own poor choices or through no fault of our own, we all live with the consequences—no one escapes the fierce tides of failure, the attacks of adversity, or the discouragement that comes from debilitating dilemmas. All of us face trials and challenges and, often, find ourselves pressed beneath the weight of the severity of our situations.
If you have ever felt loneliness, disappointment, or failure because of the poor choices you’ve made, and you know more than anything else that you need God’s intervention in your life because you are powerless to make it different on your own—well, this Psalm’s for you! That is exactly where we find David in this Holy Spirit inspired poem. Let’s read this Psalm together:
O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies. So many say that God will never help me. But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame. I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me from his Temple in Jerusalem. Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me. And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. I will cry to him, “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!” And he will slap them in the face, insulting them and breaking off their teeth. For salvation comes from God. What joys he gives to all his people. (Psalm 3:1-8 TLB)
The psalms as you may know, many of them written by David, were actually song lyrics or poems inspired by God. The book of Psalms was essentially the hymnal of ancient Israel and many of them continue to be used by Christians today in praise choruses and other worship songs.
Part of what makes these lyrics such moving songs of worship is that they tug at the heart strings of every person, frequently reflecting the problems and pressures of trying to live the way God wants us to and the heartaches that we sometimes encounter along the way.
In this Psalm in particular, David identifies four stages that a person of faith will often go through as they deal with sin, guilt, or hardship—in other words, the consequences of life. The first of those stages is despair.
Now, the background of this psalm is somewhat complicated but important. David’s problems began when he slept with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was one of the Thirty. This act of adultery led to an even more despicable act on David’s part. In order to cover up his sin, David had Uriah killed. So, adultery led to murder.
From this point onward, David had to live with the consequences of his sin. Fast forward several years: one of David’s sons, Amnon, became a bit too enamored with his half-sister Tamar. Unable to control his lust, he raped her.
Of course, this enraged Tamar’s full brother, Absalom, who sought revenge and got it by killing Amnon. When David learned about both crimes (the rape and the murder), instead of dealing with it in a righteous and just manner, he basically ignores the whole situation. Why? Well, because David had committed basically the same crimes. He once lost control of his urges and ended up killing an innocent man. As a result, David had lost the moral authority to deal effectively with his sons.
In time, Absalom became very defiant. He thought he was morally superior and a worthier leader than his father, so he mounted a rebellion. It was a rebellion that caught David by surprise; so much so, the Bible says that he fled “barefoot and weeping.”
It’s in this context that David wrote Psalm 3. Essentially, he brought all his problems on himself and that’s why he says, “O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies. So many say that God will never help me.” (vs. 1-2 TLB).