Summary: David’s faith was the product of what He knew to be true of God.
Salvation Belongs to God
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 21, 2003
As we get started tonight, let’s read the opening phrase of our psalm. David said, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!” Does that sum up the way you feel some days? Of course it does – we all have days from time to time when we feel like the world is against us and we are fighting an uphill battle. Adversity affects every one of us, and some seem to face more of it than others. So the important thing is really not to try to identify whether or not we experience it, but rather to determine how we handle it when it comes.
The psalm we are studying tonight is really a psalm born out of adversity. It is one of those “day in the life of” kinds of psalms where we are allowed to peer into the life of David a little closer, seeing a very particular incident in his life and how he handled it. Other than in the title, the incident is not mentioned, and I think appropriately so, because regardless of the adversity you or I face, our responses ought always to be the same – trust and dependence on the Lord.
So, let’s read the entire psalm and then we’ll consider its various parts. Some psalms are not so easy to divide, but we will divide this one at its natural breaking points, identified by the use of the word, “Selah.” Remember, whenever you see that word in the psalms, it means “stop and think about it.”
“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 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. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.”
When Trouble Comes
I don’t suppose I’ll ever know what it would be like to be the king of a nation and have to live with the constant knowledge that each day of my life I was in a constant struggle to stay alive and on the throne. David knew that kind of life though. As a young man he enjoyed the peace and tranquility of herding sheep, but from the time God decided that he would be king, he lived in a constant struggle for life. First, before he was king, the king himself tried to kill him. After he became king, there would be constant threats to his life from the various national leaders he fought against. Now, according to the title of the psalm, it was his own son who was threatening his life.
I want you to turn to 2 Samuel 15 with me, and let me do some reviewing with you so you’ll remember what has transpired. In chapter 13, David’s son Amnon fell in love with his half-sister Tamar. He laid a trap for her, raped her, and then declared his hatred for her. When David found out about what had happened, he did nothing. For all the ability David had as a national leader, he wrestled with being a responsible father. David’s inaction greatly angered his son Absolom, so Absolom stewed on his own hatred for Amnon for two full years. At the end of this two years, Absolom had Amnon murdered, then fled the country for fear of what his father would do.
David was heartbroken over Absolom’s absence, but for three years he did nothing to try to reach out to his son. Finally however, with the help of friends, David ended the three-year standoff by having Absolom brought home, but David commanded his people not to allow Absolom into his sight. Absolom came home, and for two more years lived under those conditions. It ate at him though. He didn’t understand why David wanted him home if he wasn’t allowed to see him, so again, through another series of events; Absolom was finally reunited with his father.
Now remember, a period of 7 years has passed since David and Absolom have had good relations, 7 years in which Absolom harbored resentment for his father the king. In chapter 15, Absolom is going to act on that resentment and attempt to usurp the throne. Right under his father’s nose, Absolom began to steal the hearts of the people by acting on the king’s behalf in judicial matters, and finally, when he gathered a great enough following, he turned on David. Let’s pick up in 2 Samuel 15:13 and read. Though the passage is quite lengthy, as we read through the chapter, I want you to begin identifying the various people David wrote about in Psalm 3 when he said, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”