Wednesday, March 30, 2016
“A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” (Psalm 3:1a)
The story of Absalom’s attempt to usurp the throne is found in 11 Samuel 15-18. By constantly running down David’s administration and making political promises to fix the problems, he had gained a huge following. He had enlisted some of David’s best advisors, and was prepared to have David executed, so that David was forced into exile for a little while. He publically had incestuous relations with several of David’s wives in a deliberate effort to force people to take sides. It was perhaps the lowest point in David’s career, knowing that Absalom’s rebellion was a direct result of his sin with Bathsheba and murdering her husband.
“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.” (Psalm 3:1b-3)
David was shocked at how many of the people turned against him. Many of those who followed Absalom did not initially know what was going on until he had gotten them involved in actively rebelling against David. As a result, they were afraid to go back when they learned the truth. The story of David’s having Uriah killed had come out, and many people felt God would not forgive him for the murder, and that what Absalom was doing was God’s judgment for David’s sin.
Many people have a mistaken understanding about forgiveness and Justification. Receiving forgiveness and being justified does not make it as if we had never sinned. The effects of that sin will still be felt. For example, if a person got drunk and caused someone to die in a car crash, being forgiven and justified does not bring the person back to life. David understood that while God had forgiven him, there would still be consequences for the murder. His sin had set an example before his children that would not be eliminated by just asking for forgiveness, but he could still trust God to take care of him.
“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.” (Psalm 3:4-6)
David understood that God had forgiven him and that he still heard his prayers. As a result, he was able to sleep soundly, confident the Lord would take care of him. Even if there ten thousand of his people who were actively seeking to kill him he was not going to allow that fear to control him.
“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.” (Psalm 3:7-8)
God has effectively slapped all those who are judging David, destroying their power to do him real harm. God is the only one who can save us, and he blesses those who trust him, even when they have messed up badly. The only sin he will not forgive is rejecting his son.