November 17, 2021
Trust in God in Times of Trouble
3 Lord, how my enemies have increased!
Psalm 3 (NASB)
Many are rising up against me.
2 Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
3 But You, Lord, are a shield around me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
4 I was crying out to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy [b]mountain. Selah
5 [c]I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, Lord; save me, my God!
For You [d]have struck all my enemies on the [e]cheek;
You [f]have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
8 [g]Salvation belongs to the Lord;
May Your blessing [h]be upon Your people! Selah
DevotionDavid, the king, begins this psalm with an air of apprehension. One can easily imagine his eyes furtively darting left to right, searching for signs of the enemies of which he speaks. As king, he should be reclining peacefully on a divan in his palace, but instead, he is hiding in a cave, fearing for his life. And so, his meditation begins in fear and worry.
And so, too, do many of our prayers. Life overwhelms us and events rapidly outdistance our preparations. Far too frequently we come to God in desperation, not knowing where else to turn. Like David, we need solace and protection which no one on earth can provide.
As a warrior, David imagines God in battle array on behalf of those who trust in God. He employs three distinct images for God in this regard (verse 3): “shield,” “glory,” and “the One Who lifts my head.” As “Shield,” God provides cover and protection from assault by ground or air. It is a fitting picture of the mercy and protection of our God. “Glory” speaks of the awesome power and brilliant Character of God. God is One to be regarded with reverent wonder. As “Lifter of one’s head,” God is seen as the One Who directs our gaze from the dust of the earth to the splendor of the heavens. God alone can lift us out of the doldrums of self-absorption and self-pity to see the wonder of salvation. These are apt reminders in the midst of trouble. It is this God to Whom David directed his prayer, and Who “answered … from His holy mountain.”
We assume David penned these words in the midst of his flight from peril. If so, the next words should inspire wonder in our hearts. “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.” In the heart of his trouble, David knew the Lord heard his prayer, and slept! How frequently sleep eludes us in difficulty. We find insomnia a n all-too-familiar companion in the time of trouble. But David slept. And awoke with the confidence that God was already at work on his behalf.
God did, indeed, deliver David from his foes. Sadly, the deliverance itself brought David grief in the deaths of his son and a beloved general. Yet, even then, God brought peace to David’s heart. God has a way of working in ways we never imagine, and sometimes in ways we would not choose. But even then, God is working on our behalf. Our task is but to trust God.
Merciful God, help us to turn to you in our trouble, trusting You to work in our behalf. Deliver us, as you did David, from our troubles and fears, and to trust You in sleeping as in waking. Grant us the peace and comfort of Your Presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.