Psalm 3:1-4 – The grief and prayer of a heartbroken father

grieving fatherYou will notice in your Bible an editor’s note that identifies Psalm 3 as a psalm of David composed when his son Absalom rose up against him forcing the king to flee his throne and the capital city of Jerusalem.  This event is recorded in 2 Samuel 15 and is the culmination of years of rebellion on the part of Absalom against his father.  Absalom conspired against his father and, by implying his father the king cared little for the people (2 Samuel 15:3-6), “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6).  David’s cry to God is recorded in Psalm 3.

Psalm 3:1-4  – “LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God], how are they increased [multiplied] that trouble [cause distress; afflict] me! many are they that rise up [stand up as a foe] against me. 2  Many there be which say [speak; tell] of my soul [life; person; being], There is no help [deliverer] for him in God. Selah. 3  But thou, O LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God], art a shield [buckler; defence] for me; my glory [honor; splendor], and the lifter up [exaltation; to move in a higher direction] of mine head. 4  I cried [called out] unto the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God] with my voice, and he heard [answered; responded; replied] me out of his holy [sanctuary; sacred place] hill. Selah [i.e. to pause—most likely an instruction to musicians].”

David, once the champion of Israel, finds himself surrounded by enemies who had once shouted his praises.  The loneliness of the king and his desperate cry to God rouses the heart of any who have been in leadership and felt the blow of betrayal and the burden of shame.  The king’s flight emboldened his enemies to deride, “not even God will deliver him!”

Sword on top of shield

Sword on top of shield

Notice in verse 3 how David takes solace in the character and promises of God.  His reflections and confession strengthened his soul when he remembered the LORD, the God of eternity was his “shield”, defender and Sovereign of creation.  The king was confident that, though driven from his throne by enemies, God would exact vengeance and His justice would prevail.  Alone, afraid, humiliated, discouraged, but not defeated; David was confident God saw his plight and heard his cry.  The king’s confidence and faith is summed up in verse 4:

Psalm 3:4 – “I cried [called out] unto the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God] with my voice, and he heard [answered; responded; replied] me out of his holy [sanctuary; sacred place] hill. Selah [i.e. to pause—most likely an instruction to musicians].”

My friend, we live in the midst of a people and society that has imparted to our children a spirit of entitlement that is both deluded and wicked.  The “X-Generation” and the “Millenniums” that followed them are like David’s son Absalom– devoid of natural affection (Romans 1:30-31) and consumed with the delusion of rights and privileges they have not earned or deserve.  They are the epitome of a nation that has denied God.  They boast, having accomplished nothing and are a grief to their parents.prayers

There are fathers and mothers reading today’s devotional who, in their own circumstance, identify with David’s sorrow.  To face an enemy is sorrow enough, but when that enemy is your own son or daughter mere words fail to express the grief and anguish of a parent’s broken heart.

I close with this word of encouragement—God hears and answers your cry in the night.  He is for you Who he was for David, your shield and defender.  He will lift you up in His time.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith