The word of G-d is very clear – when we act in faith (obeying the purposes and will of G-d) we will be persecuted. This psalm, however, is not speaking about this type of suffering. It is speaking about being in the midst of suffering created by oneself – we haven’t been faithful/obedient/behaved correctly etc. Although we have a covenant with G-d we are outside of His will and the enemy is attacking us and exploiting our faithlessness and rebellion in order to destroy us. What do we do in this situation? The wisest thing that we can do is humble ourselves and turn to G-d in repentance and ask Him for His assistance. Let’s see how David did it….
Not all psalms have inscriptions, but this one does – “The Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom..” It tells us a little bit about what was going on in David’s life in order to give the psalm context. (2 Samuel 15-18). After David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Nathan prophesied that David’s house would always have conflict in it because of what David had done (2 Sam 12:9-12). This psalm confirms this prophecy. David failed to deal with Amnon correctly (2 Sam 13) and so Absalom took matters into his own hands. This caused a break in the relationship between David and Absalom. Absalom fled and then a few years later returned but David forbade him to see his face (2 Sam 14:24). Many believe this hurt Absalom and caused him to rebel against David. In this psalm David is on the run. He is not functioning as king. His son has won the hearts of the people, declared himself as king and humiliated his father.
v1: L-rd: David turned to G-d. When we feel like we have failed everyone, including G-d, the best thing we can do is turn to Him. Although G-d knew what was happening, David shared his situation with Him.
· They – a reference to David’s enemies. Absalom had won the hearts of the people and many people turned against David.
v2: These enemies know about David’s failures. Here they are attacking him spiritually. They wanted David to know that he is a spiritual failure. However, they didn’t bank on the fact that G-d is a G-d who restores those who humbly approach Him with a contrite heart.
· Another word for ‘help’ is ‘salvation’ (deliverance)
· Selah – there’s much debate about what this term means. It is recorded three times in this psalm. Many think it is a pause – a stopping in order to reflect/meditate on what has been said.
v3: A shield is for defence, used for protection.
· My glory – the greatest honour or glory in our lives is being in a covenantal relationship with G-d. No matter what we have done He has promised to never leave or forsake us. David isn’t writing this years after His restoration. He is writing it in the midst of his fleeing – it is his statement of faith.
· The One who lifts up my head: When we go before G-d with a repentant heart He encourages us, no matter what is going on in our lives, and He acknowledges us – He doesn’t disown us and say we are no longer His son/daughter.
v4: I cried: More accurately translated: ‘I will call’: This word is written in the future tense in Hebrew. The use of this tense shows an ongoing and a continuous commitment to call out to G-d. David isn’t just going to call once and if G-d doesn’t answer him he will stop calling. David is going to persist with crying out to G-d until G-d answers.
· He heard: Now this is written in the past tense! This turns it into a statement of assurance. (Isaiah 65:24)
Note: In the first two verses David laid out his troubles to G-d. In these last two verses David begins to worship G-d.
v5: Understand the context. David is on the run. When he lies down to sleep he doesn’t know if his enemies will catch up with him to either kill him in his sleep or wake him up to kill him.
· Here we see that David sleeps confidently. Why?
· Because the L-rd sustained him – David relied on /trusted in the L-rd to keep him safe. He slept in faith.
v6: Ten thousands of people – David is greatly outnumbered.
· Set themselves against me: David knows he is in a very difficult situation. The enemy is abundant, and they are all around him. But David does not base his thoughts, his worship, his repentance, etc upon what he sees with his eyes. Although he couldn’t see G-d’s promises in reality he believed in G-d’s faithfulness to the promises that He made to His people.
Note: We have all failed. But we don’t have to continue in failure or in defeat. G-d delights in restoring His people.
v7: “My G-d” – David, guilty of adultery, murder, failed family etc, had confidence to call G-d his. Others might have discouraged him (or discourage us), insinuating that G-d would not want to have anything more to do with him/us, but David did not buy their narrative and falsehood.
· Struck…on the cheekbone: This speaks about shame. The enemies of G-d are going to have their faces covered in shame (Ps 34:5)
David is seeking G-d’s forgiveness, mercy and grace. G-d’s grace brings us back to a position whereby we can have hope in the promises of G-d.
· Broken teeth speak of humiliation. Those who come against G-d’s covenantal people (His children) are going to suffer humiliation.
v8: Your people – the only way to be part of His people is by accepting His salvation (which we know is Yeshua!). When we are saved we have a covenantal relationship with Him. He forgives ALL of our sins and remembers them no more! Heb 8:12